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VOL.  I 





MEN  and  women  are  divided,  in  relation  to  their  papers, 
into  hoarders  and  scatterers.  Miss  Nightingale  was  a 
hoarder,  and  as  she  lived  to  be  90  the  accumulation  of 
papers,  stored  in  her  house  at  the  time  of  her  death,  was 
very  great.  The  papers  referring  to  years  up  to  1861  had 
been  neatly  done  up  by  herself,  and  it  was  evident  that  not 
everything  had  been  kept.  After  that  date,  time  and 
strength  to  sort  and  weed  had  been  wanting,  and  Miss 
Nightingale  seems  to  have  thrown  little  away.  Even 
soiled  sheets  of  blotting-paper,  on  which  she  had  made 
notes  in  pencil,  were  preserved.  'By  a  Will  executed  in 
1896  she  had  directed  that  all  her  letters,  papers,  and 
manuscripts,  with  some  specific  exceptions,  should  be 
destroyed.  By  a  Codicil  executed  in  the  following  year  she 
revoked  this  direction,  and  bequeathed  the  letters,  papers, 
and  manuscripts  to  her  cousin,  Mr.  Henry  Bonham  Carter. 
After  her  death  the  papers  were  sorted  chronologically  by 
his  direction,  and  they  have  formed  the  principal  founda- 
tion of  this  Memoir. 

Of  expressly  autobiographical  notes,  Miss  Nightingale 
left  very  few.  At  the  date  of  the  Codicil  above  mentioned 
she  seems  to  have  contemplated  the  probability  of  some 
authoritative  record  of  her  life  ;  for  in  that  year  she  wrote 
a  short  summary  of  what  she  called  "  My  Responsibility  to 
India,"  detailing  her  relations  with  successive  Secretaries 
of  State,  Governors-General,  and  other  administrators. 
Her  memory  in  these  matters  was  still  accurate,  for  the 
summary  is  fully  borne  out  by  letters  and  other  papers 
of  the  several  dates  :  it  adds  some  personal  details.  In 
private  letters  she  sometimes  recounted,  at  later  times, 
episodes  or  experiences  in  her  life,  but  such  references  are 


few.  Nor,  except  for  a  few  years,  did  Miss  Nightingale 
keep  any  formal  diary ;  and  during  the  Crimean  episode 
she  was  too  incessantly  busy  with  her  multitudinous  duties 
to  find  time  for  many  private  notes. 

The  principal  authority  for  Miss  Nightingale's  Life  is 
thus  the  collection  of  papers  aforesaid,  and  these  are  very 
copious  in  information.  The  records,  in  one  sort  or  another, 
of  her  earlier  years  are  full.  The  papers  relating  to  her  work 
during  the  Crimean  War  are  voluminous,  and  I  have  supple- 
mented the  study  of  these  by  consulting  the  official  docu- 
ments concerning  Miss  Nightingale's  mission  which  are 
preserved,  among  War  Office  papers,  in  the  Public  Record 
Office.  Her  papers  relating  to  public  affairs  during  the 
years  1856  to  1861  are  also  very  voluminous.  After  the 
latter  date  she  seems,  as  already  stated,  to  have  kept  almost 
everything,  even  every  advertisement,  that  she  received. 
She  often  made  notes  for  important  letters  that  she  sent, 
and  sometimes  kept  copies  of  them.  Of  official  documents, 
of  printed  memoranda,  pamphlets,  reports,  and  returns,  she 
accumulated  an  immense  collection.  And  though  she  was 
not  a  regular  diarist,  she  was  in  the  habit  of  jotting  down  on 
sheets  of  notepaper  her  engagements,  impressions,  thoughts, 
meditations,  as  also  in  many  cases  reports  of  conversations. 

The  collection  of  letters  received  by  Miss  Nightingale,  and 
of  her  notes  for  letters  sent  by  her,  has  been  supplemented, 
through  the  kindness  of  many  of  her  correspondents  or  their 
representatives,  by  letters  which  were  received  from  her. 
I  am  more  especially  indebted  in  this  respect  to  the  care 
of  the  late  Sir  Douglas  Galton,  whose  docketed  collection 
of  letters  from  Miss  Nightingale,  taken  in  conjunction  with 
a  long  series  of  his  letters  to  her,  forms  a  main  authority  for 
much  of  the  record  of  her  activity  in  public  affairs.  Her 
letters  to  Julius  and  Mary  Mohl,  returned  to  her  after  the 
death  of  the  latter,  are,  in  another  way,  of  peculiar  interest. 
I  am  particularly  indebted,  among  the  lenders  of  letters  ad- 
dressed to  nursing  friends,  to  Miss  Pringle  and  to  the  father 
of  the  late  Mrs.  Daniel  Morris  (Miss  Rachel  Williams) .  Miss 
Pringle  has  also  favoured  me  with  personal  reminiscences. 

For  permission  to  print  letters  written  to  Miss  Nightin- 


gale,  I  am  indebted  to  many  of  her  relations,  friends, 
and  correspondents,  or  their  representatives  ;  to  so  many, 
indeed,  that  I  ask  them  to  accept  here  a  general  acknowledg- 
ment. I  am  especially  indebted  to  the  King,  who  has  been 
pleased  to  permit  the  publication  of  letters  from  Queen 
Victoria  and  some  other  members  of  the  Royal  Family. 
The  German  Emperor  has  graciously  given  a  like  permission 
in  the  case  of  correspondence  with  the  Empress  Frederick. 
The  Dowager  Grand  Duchess  (Luise)  of  Baden  has  allowed 
me  to  quote  from  a  long  series  of  letters  addressed  by  her 
to  Miss  Nightingale. 

Next  to  the  letters  and  other  papers,  above  described, 
the  most  valuable  material  for  the  Life  of  Miss  Nightingale 
is  contained  in  her  own  printed  writings — many  of  them 
published,  some  (and  these,  from  the  biographical  point  of 
view,  the  most  important)  privately  printed.  In  the  case 
of  the  Crimean  War,  material  under  both  of  these  heads  is 
particularly  abundant.  Her  published  Notes  on  Hospitals 
and  Notes  on  Nursing  and  other  works  relating  to  those 
subjects,  together  with  her  privately  circulated  Addresses 
to  Probationers,  supplement  her  private  records.  For  her 
inner  life,  her  privately  printed  book,  Suggestions  for  Thought, 
is  of  special  importance. 

A  List  of  Miss  Nightingale's  Printed  Writings  (whether 
published  or  privately  circulated)  is  given  at  the  end  of  the 
second  volume  (Appendix  A).  My  purpose  in  compiling 
this  List  was  biographical  illustration,  not  bibliographical 
minuteness.  I  have  not  included  every  scrap  from  Miss 
Nightingale's  pen  which  has  appeared  in  print,  but  have 
given  every  piece  which  is  directly  or  indirectly  referred  to 
in  the  Memoir,  or  which  is  of  any  importance.  The  List 
will,  I  hope,  serve  a  double  purpose.  It  enables  me  to 
abbreviate  in  the  text  the  references  to  my  authorities  ;  and 
it  provides,  in  chronological  order,  a  conspectus  of  Miss 
Nightingale's  varied  activities,  so  far  as  they  were  reflected 
in  her  printed  writings. 

Lastly,  there  is  much  biographical  material,  not  only 
in  Blue-books  and  official  reports,  but  in  writings  about 
Miss  Nightingale.  Except  in  the  case  of  the  Crimean  War, 

viii  PREFACE 

where  many  eye-witnesses  recorded  their  observations  or 
impressions,  this  material  is  not  all  of  great  value.  Through- 
out her  subsequent  life,  Miss  Nightingale  was  screened  from 
the  public  gaze  ;  a  somewhat  legendary  figure  grew  up,  and 
it  is  that  which  for  the  most  part  appears  in  books  about  her. 
This,  however,  is  a  subject  fully  dealt  with  in  an  Introductory 
chapter.  In  Appendix  B  I  give  a  short  List  of  Writings 
about  Miss  Nightingale.  Here,  again,  the  purpose  is  not 
bibliographical.  There  is  a  great  mass  of  such  writing,  and 
a  complete  list  would  have  been  altogether  outside  the  scope 
of  a  biography.  I  have  included  only  first-hand  authorities 
or  such  other  books,  etc.,  as  for  one  reason  or  another 
(explained  in  the  notes  upon  each  item)  seemed  relevant 
to  the  Memoir.  This  second  List  also  serves  the  purpose 
of  simplifying  references  in  the  text. 

In  a  third  Appendix  (C)  I  have  enumerated  the  principal 
portraits  of  Miss  Nightingale.  Notes  on  those  reproduced 
in  this  book  will  there  be  found.  I  am  indebted  to  the 
kindness  of  Sir  William  Richmond  and  Sir  Harry  Verney 
for  the  inclusion  of  the  portrait  which  forms  the  frontis- 
piece to  the  second  volume,  and  to  Mrs.  Cunliffe  for  the 
frontispiece  to  the  present  volume. 

To  Miss  Nightingale's  executors  I  am  indebted  for  the 
confidence  which  they  have  shown  in  entrusting  her  Papers 
to  my  discretion.  A  biography  is  worth  nothing  unless 
it  is  sincere.  The  aim  of  the  present  book  has  been  to 
tell  the  truth  about  the  subject  of  it,  and  I  have  done  my 
work  under  no  conscious  temptation  to  suppress,  exag- 
gerate, extenuate,  or  distort.  From  Miss  Nightingale's 
executors,  and  from  other  of  her  friends  and  relations,  I 
have  received  help  and  information  which  has  been  of  the 
greatest  assistance.  More  especially  I  am  indebted  to  her 
cousin,  Mrs.  Vaughan  Nash,  who  has  been  good  enough  to 
read  my  book,  both  in  manuscript  and  in  proof,  and  who 
has  favoured  me  throughout  with  valuable  information, 
corrections,  suggestions,  and  criticisms.  This  obligation 
makes  it  the  more  incumbent  upon  me  to  add  that  for 
any  faults  in  the  book,  whether  of  commission  or  of  omis- 
sion, I  alone  must  bear  the  blame. 



INTRODUCTORY       ........     xxiii 

ASPIRATION  (1820-1854) 



Name,  ancestry,  and  parentage.  II.  Her  father's  circum- 
stances— Her  early  homes — Lea  Hurst  (Derbyshire) — Mrs. 
Gaskell's  description  —  Embley  Park  (Hampshire).  III. 
Early  years — Country  life — Domestic  interests — A  morbid 
strain.  IV.  Mr.  Nightingale's  education  of  his  daughters — 
History,  the  classics,  philosophy — Anecdotes  of  Florence's  sup- 
posed early  vocation  to  nursing — The  date  of  her  "  call  to  God  "» 
(1837).  V.  The  Grand  Tour  (1837-9) — Interest  in  social 
and  political  conditions — Italian  refugees  at  Geneva — Talks 
with  Sismondi — Visit  to  Florence — Gaieties  and  music.  VI. 
A  winter  in  Paris  (1838-9) — Friendship  with  Mary  Clarke 
(Madame  Mohl) — Madame  Recamier's  salon.  Social  "  tempta- 
tions "  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  3 




A  struggle  for  freedom.  Life  in  London  —  Music  —  The  Bed- 
chamber Plot.  II.  Country-house  life — The  charm  of  Embley 
— Contrast  between  Florence  and  her  sister.  III.  The  family 
circle — Florence's  "  boy  " — Florence  as  "  Emergency  Man  " 
— Her  old  nurse — Letter  to  Miss  Clarke  on  the  death  of 
M.  Fauriel — Theatricals  at  Waverley  Abbey — Florence  as 
stage-manager.  IV.  Friends  and  neighbours — Lord  Palmer- 
ston  —  Louisa  Lady  Ashburton  —  Mrs.  Bracebridge.  V. 
Florence's  conversation  —  Social  attractiveness  —  Personal 



appearance  :    descriptions  by  Lady  Lovelace  and  Mrs.  Gaskell. 

VI.  Dissatisfaction  in  social  life — Desultoriness  of  a  girl's  life 
at  home — The  misery  of  being  read  aloud  to — Housekeeping. 

VII.  Increasing    sense    of    a   vocation  —  Private    studies  — 
Thoughts  of  nursing — A  first  dash  for  liberty  (1845)  :  failure  .         23 



Dejection.  Friendship  with  Miss  Nicholson:  religious  experi- 
ences and  speculations — Letters  to  Miss  Nicholson  and  Miss 
Clarke.  II.  The  reality  of  the  unseen  world — The  conviction 
of  sin — The  pains  of  hell— Hunger  after  righteousness — "  All 
for  the  Love  of  God."  III.  Independent  development  of  Miss 
Nightingale's  religious  thought — The  service  of  God  as  the 
service  of  man — Her  testing  of  religious  doctrine  by  practical 
results — Her  attitude  to  Roman  Catholicism — Desire  for  a 
church  of  works,  not  doctrines  .....  46 



Disappointment's  dry  and  bitter  root."  Pursuit  of  her  ideal — 
Obstacles  to  her  adoption  of  nursing — Social  prejudices — Low 
esteem  of  nurses  at  the  time — The  Kaiserswerth  "  Institution 
for  Deaconesses."  II.  Increasing  distaste  for  the  routine  of 
home  life.  III.  Social  distractions  (1847) — Jenny  Lind — The 
British  Association  at  Oxford — Marriage  of  Miss  Clarke — 
Country  visits  .......  59 



A  tour  that  confirmed  a  vocation.  Sight-seeing  in  Rome — Ad- 
miration for  Michael  Angelo — The  revelation  of  the  Sistine 
Chapel — The  obsession  of  Rome.  II.  Italian  politics — Pio 
Nono  as  Patriot  Hero.  III.  The  convent  of  the  Trinita  de' 
Monti — Study  of  Roman  doctrine  and  ritual — Friendship  with 
the'Madre  Sta.  Colomba — A  retreat  in  the  convent — The 
secret  of  devotion.  IV.  Meeting  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Sidney 
Herbert  and  with  Manning — The  London  season — Friendship 
with  Lord  Shaftesbury — Self-reproaches.  V.  A  projected  visit 
to  Kaiserswerth  (1848)  :  disappointment  again — Acquaintance 
with  Guizot — Ragged  school  work  in  London  ...  69 





Another  fruitless  distraction.  A  winter  in  Egypt  —  Thebes  — 
Condition  of  the  people — Impressions  of  Egyptian  scenery.  II. 
Athens — Doric  architecture — Greek  scenery.  III.  Political 
affairs — The  "  Don  Pacifico  "  crisis — The  Ionian  Islands :  a 
day  with  the  High  Commissioner.  IV.  American  missionaries 
at  Athens — Dresden — Visit  to  Kaiserswerth.  V.  The  literary 
"  temptation  " — Her  view  of  literary  art — Her  Letters  from 
Egypt  .  84 



The  three  paths.  Why  Florence  Nightingale  did  not  marry — 
Her  criticism  of  Dorothea  in  Middlemarch,  II.  Offers  of 
marriage — Her  ideal  of  marriage — The  threefold  nature.  III. 
Self-devotion  to  her  vocation — Determination  to  throw  open 
new  spheres  for  women  ......  96 




The  struggle  for  independence  resumed.  Want  of  sympathy  be- 
tween her  and  her  parents  and  sister — Unhappiness  at  home — 
A  "  starved  "  life.  II.  Growing  spirit  of  revolt — The  need  of 
apprenticeship.  III.  Second  visit  to  Kaiserswerth — Origin  of 
the  Institution — Account  of  its  work — Her  life  there.  IV. 
Craving  for  sympathy  from  her  relations — Their  hope  that  the 
apprenticeship  would  be  only  an  episode  .  .  .104 



The  turning-point.  Patience  and  serenity :  waiting  for  an  oppor- 
tunity. II.  With  her  father  at  Umberslade — The  water  cure — 
Death  of  her  Aunt  Evans — Meeting  with  George  Eliot  and  Mrs. 
Browning — Visits  to  Dublin  and  to  Birk  Hall  (Sir  James 
Clark).  III.  Literary  "Works" — Converse  with  her  "Aunt 
Mai  " — A  new  religion  for  the  artizans.  IV.  A  little  piece  of 
diplomacy — Florence  to  be  free  at  some  future  specified  time. 
V.  A  last  attempt  to  keep  her  at  home  .  .  .  .116 



(i853~OcTOBER  1854) 


Visit  to  Paris — Study  in  the  hospitals — Return  to  England: 
death  of  her  grandmother.  II.  Miss  Nightingale  invited  to 
take  charge  of  an  institution  in  Harley  Street.  III.  Return  to 
Paris — Study  with  the  Sisters  of  Charity — Illness.  IV.  Super- 
intendent of  the  Harley  Street  "  Hospital  for  Gentlewomen  "- 
The  gentle  art  of  managing  committees — Her  vocation  found — 
A  last  attempt  to  call  her  back.  V.  A  holiday  at  Lea  Hurst — 
Visit  from  Mrs.  Gaskell — Outbreak  of  cholera:  return  to 
London.  VI.  Limited  scope  at  Harley  Street — Proposal  to 
Miss  Nightingale  to  become  matron  at  King's  College  Hospital — 
Lady  Lovelace's  prophecy  .  .  .  .  .  .127 


THE  CRIMEAN  WAR  (1854-1856) 


(OCTOBER  1854) 

The  Battle  of  the  Alma — The  Times  special  correspondent — 
State  of  the  hospitals  at  .Scutari — Popular  indignation — An 
appeal  for  nurses.  II.  Answer  to  the  appeal — Lady  Maria 
Forester  and  Miss  Nightingale  —  Sidney  Herbert  and  Miss 
Nightingale.  III.  Letters  that  crossed — Miss  Nightingale's 
offer  :  Sidney  Herbert's  suggestion  —  Miss  Nightingale's 
official  instructions.  IV.  Co-operation  of  the  Times  Fund 
— Selection  of  nurses  for  the  expedition.  V.  Miss  Nightingale's 
demeanour — A  pocket-book  and  some  letters  .  .  .145 



Start  of  the  expedition  —  Failure  to  obtain  Sisters  of  Charity  in 
Paris — Reception  of  the  expedition  in  France — Departure  from 
Marseilles.  II.  Popular  enthusiasm  in  England — Account  of 
Miss  Nightingale  in  the  newspapers — Public  subscriptions — 
Other  nurses  volunteering.  III.  Miss  Nightingale's  plans — 
Importance  of  her  experiment — Difficulties  ahead — Military 
prejudice:  Sir  Anthony  Sterling's  letters — Medical  jealousy: 
Sir  John  Hall's  letters — Religious  rivalries — Miss  Nightingale's 
policy  .........  162 





Arrival  at  the  Golden  Horn.  The  Scutari  hospitals  —  The 
General  Hospital — The  Barrack  Hospital:  quarters  of  Miss 
Nightingale  and  her  staff — The  Palace  Hospital — The  Koulali 
Hospitals.  II.  State  of  the  hospitals  when  Miss  Nightingale 
arrived  —  Report  of  the  Roebuck  Committee  —  Terrible 
death-rate — The  root  of  the  evil :  division  of  responsibility — 
Need  of  individual  initiative  .  .  .  .  .171 



The  Battle  of  Balaclava.  Miss  Nightingale's  reception  at  Scutari : 
letter  from  Lord  Raglan  —  Difficulties  with  the  doctors  — 
Miss  Nightingale  at  work  in  the  wards — Difficulties  with  the 
nurses.  II.  Dispatch  of  a  second  party  of  nurses  under  Miss 
Stanley,  accompanied  by  Mr.  Jocelyne  Percy — Miss  Nightin- 
gale's indignant  surprise — Mr.  Herbert's  promise  not  to  send  out 
more  nurses  except  at  her  requisition — Danger  of  ruining  the 
experiment — Medical  opposition — Aggravation  of  the  religious 
difficulty  —  Arrangements  for  placing  the  Stanley  party — 
Significance  of  the  episode  in  relation  to  the  novelty  of  the 
experiment.  III.  Deficiency  of  requisites  in  the  hospitals — 
Miss  Nightingale's  appeal  to  the  British  Ambassador  —  Her 
washing  reforms — Her  "Extra  Diet"  Kitchens — Alexis  Soy  er 
— Sorry  plight  of ,  the  camp-followers  —  Establishment  of  a 
lying-in  hospital — Dr.  Andrew  Smith  and  the  female  eye  .  181 



Miss  Nightingale's  varied  functions.  Purveyor-Auxiliary  to  the 
hospitals — Ignorance  of  the  Ambassador  as  to  the  true  state  of 
things — Deficiencies  in  the  stores — Miss  Nightingale's  cara- 
vanserai in  "  The  Sisters'  Tower  " — Her  supplies  issued  only  on 
medical  requisition — Delays  in  obtaining  access  to  Government 
stores — Miss  Nightingale's  resourcefulness  in  obtaining  supplies 
— Her  gifts  to  the  French  and  Sardinian  hospitals — Absurdities 
of  the  purveying  regulations.  II.  Clothier  to  the  wounded — 
Cause  of  the  deficiency  of  shirts  :  50,000  issued  from  Miss 
Nightingale's  stores.  III.  Builder — Miss  Nightingale's  pre- 
paration of  new  wards  for  additional  patients  from  the  Crimea. 
IV.  Her  shouldering  of  responsibility — Strictness  of  her  admini- 
stration— Almoner  of  the  Queen's  "  Free  Gifts  " — Rules  and  ex- 
ceptions— Value  of  her  initiative — Sidney  Herbert's  approval — 
Mr.  Kinglake  and  "  the  woman's  touch  "  .  .  .199 





Miss  Nightingale  as  an  inspirer  of  reform  —  Sources  of  her  in- 
fluence— Favour  of  the  Court — Letter  from  Queen  Victoria : 
her  gifts  'to  the  soldiers.  II.  Miss  Nightingale's  reports  to 
Sidney  Herbert — Character  of  her  letters.  III.  Her  urgent 
appeals  for  stores — Dispatch  of  an  executive  Sanitary  Commis- 
sion— Miss  Nightingale's  reforms  in  the  handling  of  Govern- 
ment stores — Other  reforms  due  to  her.  IV.  Her  suggestion  for 
systematic  reorganization — Suggested  improvements  in  the 
medical  service.  V.  Miss  Nightingale's  demeanour  at  Scutari — 
Description  by  S.  G.  O. — Range  of  her  influence — The  efficacy 
of  "  going  to  Miss  Nightingale  "  .  .  .  .  .213 



Dual  position  of  Miss  Nightingale:  administrator  and  nurse. 
Prodigious  power  of  work — Her  attention  to  the  sick  and 
wounded — Her  midnight  vigils — The  famous  lamp — The 
soldiers  kissing  her  shadow — Idolization  by  the  men.  II.  Corre- 
spondence with  relatives  and  friends  of  the  wounded  soldiers. 
III.  Strain  upon  Miss  Nightingale's  powers — Burden  of  corre- 
spondence— Her  helpers — Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bracebridge.  IV. 
Schemes  for  helping  the  soldiers — Mr.  Augustus  Stafford — The 
Orderlies  and  Miss  Nightingale  .  .  .  .  .233 



Nature  of  the  religious  difficulty.  Rivalry  between  the  churches 
— Various  claims  for  "  representation  "  among  the  nursing 
staff — "  Anti-Puseyite  "  attacks.  II.  Miss  Nightingale's  atti- 
tude in  the  squabble.  III.  The  difficulty  increased  by  the 
advent  of  Miss  Stanley's  party — Charges  of  proselytism — Lord 
Panmure's  instructions  misinterpreted.  IV.  Aggravation  by 
the  religious  feuds  of  the  difficulty  of  obtaining  efficient  nurses — 
Worry  caused  to  Miss  Nightingale  .  .  .  .244 


(MAY-AUGUST  1855) 

Siege  of  Sebastopol.  The  hospitals  in  the  Crimea — Miss  Night- 
ingale's authority  there  not  explicitly  denned — Her  arrival  at 
Balaclava.  II.  Visit  to  the  front— Sir  John  McNeill.  III.  Work 
in  the  hospitals — Attacked  by  "  Crimean  fever  " — Anxiety 



in  England  and  in  the  hospitals — Visit  from  Lord  Raglan. 
IV.  Miss  Nightingale  advised  to  return  to  England — Her  refusal 
— Return  to  Scutari — Gradual  recovery — "  The  heroic  dead  "  .  254 



Sympathy  in  England  caused  by  Miss  Nightingale's  illness.  The 
popular  heroine:  letters  from  Lady  Verney.  II.  The  poetry 
of  Seven  Dials,  verses,  songs,  lives,  portraits,  etc. — Miss  Night- 
ingale's view  of  it  all.  III.  Public  memorial  to  her — The 
Nightingale  Fund — Speeches  at  the  public  meeting — Nature  of 
the  memorial — Subscriptions  from  the  army — Medical  jealousy 
— Presentation  of  a  jewel  by  the  Queen  .  .  .  .264 


Miss  Nightingale's  ministrations  to  the  moral  welfare  of  the 
soldiers — Her  belief  in  the  possibility  of  reforms.  II.  Her  letter 
to  the  Queen  on  drunkenness  in  the  army :  considered  by  the 
Cabinet — Miss  Nightingale's  Money  Order  Office  at  Scutari — 
Government  offices  opened — The  "  Inkerman  Cafe  " — Sir 
Henry  Storks — Miss  Nightingale's  influence  with  the  soldiers. 

III.  Establishment  of  reading-rooms  and  class-rooms    .  .       276 


(SEPTEMBER  i855~JULY  1856) 

Fall  of  Sebastopol:  Miss  Nightingale's  second  and  third  visits  to 
the  Crimea.  Hardships  of  her  work  in  the  Crimea — Her 
"  carriage  " — The  hospital  huts  on  the  heights  above  Balaclava 
— Her  Extra  Diet  Kitchens.  II.  Opposition  to  her  in  military 
and  medical  quarters — Sir  John  Hall's  opposition — Difficulties 
with  the  nuns — Miss  Nightingale's  authority  disputed.  III. 
Her  appeals  to  home  for  support — Correspondence  with  Sidney 
Herbert — Dispatch  from  the  Secretary  of  State  defining  her  full 
authority  in  the  Crimea  promulgated  in  General  Orders — Ex- 
hausting labours  in  the  Crimea:  testamentary  dispositions. 

IV.  Hard  work  at  Scutari — Letters  from  the  aunt  who  was  with 
Miss  Nightingale — Christmas  Day  at  the  British  Embassy — 
Colonel  Lefroy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .283 


(JULY-AUGUST  1856) 

The  Peace.  Return  of  the  nurses — Miss  Nightingale's  tribute  to 
her  "  mainstays."  II.  The  Government's  thanks  to  Miss 
Nightingale — Gratitude  of  the  soldiers — Offer  of  a  man-of-war 



for  her  return — Lord  Ellesmere's  speech  in  the  House  of  Lords. 
III.  Return  of  Miss  Nightingale — Publicity  avoided — Her 
"  spoils  of  war."  IV.  Her  Crimean  work  a  starting-point  .  299 





" Muddling  through  a  war":  the  favourable  moment  for  reform. 
Advantage  taken  of  the  opportunity  after  the  Crimean  War  for 
the  better  sanitation  of  the  British  Army — Co-operation  of 
Sidney  Herbert  and  Miss  Nightingale.  II.  Her  passionate  desire 
to  lessen  preventable  mortality  in  the  future — Examination  of 
the  figures  of  mortality  in  the  army  during  peace — Her  admira- 
tion of  the  heroism  of  the  British  soldier — Her  opportunity  and 
sense  of  responsibility.  III.  A  short  holiday  at  Lea  Hurst — 
Acquaintance  with  Mr.  Kinglake — Invitation  from  Sir  James 
Clark  to  Ballater — A  visit  from  Queen  Victoria  likely — Miss 
Nightingale's  preparations:  consultation  with  Sir  John 
McNeill  and  Colonel  Lefroy — Miss  Nightingale's  plan  of  cam- 
paign. IV.  First  visit  to  Balmoral — Visit  from  the  Queen  at  Sir 
J.  Clark's — Conversations  with  the  Queen  and  the  Prince  Consort 
— Miss  Nightingale  requested  to  remain  to  see  the  Secretary  for 
War.  V.  Awaiting  Lord  Panmure  —  Advice  from  Sir  J. 
McNeill — "Command  visit"  to  Balmoral — Conversations  with 
Lord  Panmure — Appointment  of  a  Royal  Commission  promised 
— Establishment  of  an  Army  Medical  School  favoured — Miss 
Nightingale  to  report  on  her  experiences.  VI.  Conferences  of 
Miss  Nightingale's  "  Cabinet  " — Provisional  selection  of  Royal 
Commissioners:  draft  of  their  instructions — Interview  with 
Lord  Panmure  in  London:  points  won  and  lost — The  per- 
sonnel of  the  Commission  .  .  .  .  .  311 


(NOVEMBER  i856-AuousT  1857) 

Power  of  departmental  passive  resistance :  delay  in  setting  up  the 
Commission.  Lord  Panmure's  gout — "The  Bison  is  bully- 
able  " — Miss  Nightingale's  weapon  in  reserve :  her  potential 
command  of  the  public  ear.  II.  The  "  Chelsea  Board  "  :  the 
McNeill-Tulloch  affaire — Parliamentary  pressure  on  the  Govern- 
ment. III.  Miss  Nightingale's  friendship  with  Lord  Stanley — 



Miss  Nightingale  and  the  China  expedition — The  Netley 
Hospital — Her  negotiations  with  Lord  Panmure — Visit  to  Lord 
Palmerston — Her  "  fight  for  the  pavilion."  IV.  Her  prepara- 
tion for  the  Royal  Commission  by  writing  her  own  official  Report 
— Lord  Panmure's  instructions — This  Report,  the  most  remark- 
able of  her  works — Account  of  it.  V.  The  experts  and  Miss 
Nightingale — Her  inspection  of  hospitals  and  barracks — Visit 
to  Chatham — Reform  at  Chelsea — Miss  Nightingale  and  Robert 
Lowe — The  proposed  Army  Medical  School — Her  suggestions  of 
soldiers'  reading-rooms.  VI.  The  Royal  Commission  set  up — 
Interview  with  Lord  Panmure — Her  revision  of  the  instructions 
— Mr.  Herbert's  industry  as  chairman  —  Miss  Nightingale's 
assistance — Dr.  Sutherland — Her  interviews  with  witnesses,  sug- 
gestions for  their  examination — Her  own  evidence.  VII.  Re- 
port of  the  Commission — Its  salient  feature,  the  high  rate  of 
mortality  in  the  barracks — Mr.  Herbert  and  Miss  Nightingale 
resolved  on  securing  prompt  reforms  ....  334 



Frequent  futility  of  Royal  Commissions.  Mr.  Herbert's  and  Miss 
Nightingale's  plans  for  averting  the  danger — Proposed  series  of 
Sub-Commissions  to  settle  the  details  of  reform — Lord  Panmure 
off  to  Scotland — Departmental  objections — Delay  in  appointing 
the  Sub-Commissions — Miss  Nightingale's  labours.  II.  Over- 
work— Dr.  Sutherland's  expostulations — Her  refusal  to  rest. 
III.  The  Indian  Mutiny — Miss  Nightingale's  offer  to  go  out. 
Her  life  at  this  period — Miss  Nightingale's  daily  work  with 
her  allies — Ill-health — Testamentary  dispositions  .  .  362 




Fruits  of  Miss  Nightingale's  labours.  Publication  of  the  Report 
of  the  Royal  Commission — Her  measures  for  calling  attention 
to  the  rate  of  mortality  ;  for  securing  reviews  of  the  Report. 
II.  Resignation  of  Lord  Palmerston's  Government — General 
Peel,  the  new  Secretary  for  War — Miss  Nightingale's  anxiety 
about  a  new  director-general  of  the  Army  Medical  Department 
— Disappointed  with  General  Peel — Miss  Nightingale's  ill- 
health — Her  sister's  marriage — Mr.  Herbert  overworked.  III. 
Work  of  the  Barracks  and  Hospitals  Commission :  Miss  Night- 
ingale and  the  kitchens — Work  with  Mr.  Herbert  and  Dr. 
Sutherland  in  connection  with  other  Sub -Commissions — 
Netley  Hospital  again — Miss  Nightingale's  papers  on  Hospital 
Construction  (1858).  IV.  Private  circulation  of  her  Report  to 
VOL.  I  b 

xviii  CONTENTS 


Lord  Panmure — Miss  Nightingale  and  the  Duke  of  Cambridge — 
Harriet  Martineau's  co-operation  with  Miss  Nightingale — Her 
Contribution  to  the  Sanitary  History  of  the  British  Army  (1859). 
V.  Resignation  of  Lord  Derby's  Government — Mr.  Herbert, 
Secretary  for  War — Reforms  in  the  barracks — Appointment  of  a 
permanent  Barracks  Works  Committee  (afterwards  called  Army 
Sanitary  Committee) — School  of  cookery — Improved  Army 
Medical  Statistics — Establishment  of  an  Army  Medical  School : 
Miss  Nightingale  as  its  founder:  the  present  college — Other 
reforms  due  to  her.  VI.  Results  of  Mr.  Herbert's  reforms — 
Miss  Nightingale's  tribute  to  him — Their  co-operation  .  .  375 



Break -down  of  Mr.  Herbert's  health.  His  interview  with  Miss 
Nightingale  (December  1860) :  decision  to  give  up  the  House  of 
Commons — Created  Lord  Herbert  of  Lea — Her  insistence  that 
he  should  reform  the  War  Office — His  abandonment  of  the 
attempt — Establishment  of  the  General  Military  Hospital 
at  Woolwich — Introduction  of  female  nursing — His  last  letter 
to  Miss  Nightingale — His  death  (August  2) — "  Our  joint- work 
unfinished."  II.  Miss  Nightingale's  grief — Obituary  notices  of 
him — Mr.  Gladstone's  interview  with  her — Her  memorandum 
on  Lord  Herbert's  reforms — Her  endeavour  to  interest  Mr. 
Gladstone  in  their  completion — His  reply — Public  meeting  to 
promote  a  Herbert  Memorial.  III.  The  friendship  between 
Sidney  Herbert  and  Miss  Nightingale  .  .  .  .401 




Miss  Nightingale's  work  with  Sidney  Herbert  carried  on  at  the 
same  time  with  other  work.  Her  place  as  a  Sanitarian — Her 
prestige  as  an  authority  on  hospitals — Her  Notes  on  Hospitals — 
General  condition  of  hospitals  at  the  time — Influence  of  her  book 
— Miss  Nightingale  widely  consulted  on  the  construction  of 
hospitals,  at  home  and  abroad.  II.  The  Manchester  Royal 
Infirmary,  and  Mr.  Joseph  Adshead — St.  Thomas's  Hospital, 
London:  the  battle  of  the  sites — Miss  Nightingale  and  the 
Prince  Consort  .  .  .  .  .  .  .415 





Statistics  as  a  passion.  Miss  Nightingale's  study  of  the  works  of 
Quetelet — Careless  statistical  records  in  the  Crimean  War — Her 
model  Hospital  Statistical  Forms — Advantage  to  be  derived 
from  such  data  —  International  Statistical  Congress  in 
London  (1860) — Miss  Nightingale's  alliance  with  Dr.  Farr — 
Adoption  of  her  Forms — Her  reception  of  the  delegates — 
Circulation  of  her  paper — Partial  adoption  of  her  scheme  by 
London  and  other  hospitals.  II.  Her  advocacy  of  the  better 
utilization  of  Government  statistics — Her  efforts  to  extend  the 
scope  of  the  Census  of  1861 — Correspondence  with  Mr.  Lowe 
and  Sir  George  Lewis — An  appeal  to  the  Lords  .  .  .  428 



Three  great  contributions  of  the  igth  century  to  the  relief  of  human 
suffering  in  disease.  Miss  Nightingale's  place  in  the  history 
of  nursing — The  founder  not  of  nursing,  but  of  modern  nursing — 
Her  peculiar  fitness  for  directing  tendencies  of  the  time  towards 
improved  nursing.  II.  Condition  of  nursing  at  the  time — Miss 
Nightingale's  influence  in  raising  it  from  a  menial  occupation  to 
a  trained  profession.  III.  Force  of  her  example — Enthusiasm 
excited  by  her  among  women.  IV.  Force  of  her  precept — 
Notes  on  Nursing  (1859-60) — The  text-book  of  the  New 
Model  in  Nursing — Popularity  of  the  book — Reminiscences  of 
the  Crimea  in  it — "  Minding  Baby."  V.  Some  characteristics 
of  the  book — General  grasp  of  principles,  combined  with  minute- 
ness of  detail — Delicacy  of  observation,  and  fineness  of  sym- 
pathy— Epigrammatic  expression.  VI.  Importance  of  training 
in  the  art  of  nursing — The  Notes  as  a  prelude  to  practice .  .  439 



Importance  of  the  Nightingale  Training  School — Early  history  of 
the  "  Nightingale  Fund  " — Accumulation  of  the  money  during 
Miss  Nightingale's  absorption  in  other  work — Appointment  of 
a  working  committee  (1859) — Decision  to  found  a  Training 
School  in  connexion  with  St.  Thomas's  Hospital — Character  of 
Mrs.  Wardroper,  matron  of  the  hospital.  II.  Essential  prin- 
ciples of  Miss  Nightingale's  scheme  :  (i)  technical,  a  Training 
School ;  lectures,  examinations,  reports,  etc.  ;  (2)  moral,  a  home. 
III.  Miss  Nightingale's  supervision — Favourable  start  of  the 



school.  IV.  Further  application  of  the  Nightingale  Fund  to 
the  training  of  midwives.  V.  Wide  influence  of  the  Night- 
ingale School — Novelty  of  the  experiment — Medical  opposition 
at  the  start — From  paradox  to  commonplace  .  .  .  456 




The  religious  sanction  behind  Miss  Nightingale's  life  of  work — 
Resumption  of  her  theological  speculations — Printing  of  her 
Suggestions  for  Thought — General  character  of  the  book.  II. 
Miss  Nightingale  and  John  Stuart  Mill — Her  introduction  to 
Benjamin  Jowett  —  The  book  submitted  to  them  —  Mill's 
advice  that  it  should  be  published,  Jowett's  that  it  should  not — 
Literary  imperfections — Her  impatience  of  literary  revision. 
III.  Scope  of  the  book — Vehemence  of  style — Explanation  of 
Mill's  and  Jowett's  contrary  advice.  IV.  Origin  of  the  book — 
Sketch  of  her  theological  system — Thoughts  on  Prayer — God 
as  Law — Influence  of  Quetelet — Doctrine  of  human  perfecti- 
bility as  explaining  the  existence  of  evil  —  Freewill  and 
Necessity — Belief  in  a  future  life — The  philosophy  of  history — 
Motive  for  human  conduct.  V.  Miss  Nightingale's  attitude 
to  current  creeds,  Protestant  and  Catholic.  VI.  Spiritual 
intensity  with  which  she  held  her  creed  ....  468 



Continued  ill-health  —  Serious  illness  and  expectation  of  early 
death — Yet  constant  work — Doctor's  opinions — Necessity  for 
husbanding  her  strength.  II.  Consequent  manner  of  life — A 
laborious  hermit — Help  from  her  friends — A.  H.  Clough — 
Her  uncle,  Mr.  S.  Smith,  and  her  private  correspondence. 
III.  Her  places  of  residence — Highgate  and  Hampstead — The 
Burlington  Hotel  in  London — The  Queen's  offer  of  rooms  in 
Kensington  Palace:  why  declined — Her  cats.  IV.  Reading 
and  music  —  Her  Italian  sympathies.  V.  Seclusion  from 
visitors,  friends  and  relations  —  Miss  Nightingale  and  her 
father.  VI.  Correspondence  with  her  friends — Associations  of 
the  Burlington  Hotel  .  .  .  *  .  .491 



Mrs.  Nightingale  and  her  two  Daughters :  1828.  (From 
a  water-colour  drawing  in  possession  of  Mrs.  Cunliffe) 


Florence  Nightingale  about  1845.  (From  a  pencil 
drawing  by  her  cousin,  Miss  Hilary  Bonham  Carter, 
in  possession  of  Miss  B.  A .  Clough)  ...  38 

Florence  Nightingale  :  about  1858.     (From  a  photograph 

by  Goodman)         .......       394 


AMONG  Miss  Nightingale's  memoranda  on  books  and  reading, 
there  is  this  injunction  :  "  The  preface  of  a  book  ought  to 
set  forth  the  importance  of  what  it  is  going  to  treat  of,  so 
that  the  reader  may  understand  what  he  is  reading  for." 
The  saying  is  typical  of  the  methodical  and  positive  spirit 
which,  as  we  shall  learn,  was  one  of  the  dominant  strains  in 
Miss  Nightingale's  work  and  character.  She  wanted  to 
know  at  every  stage  precisely  what  a  person,  or  a  book,  or  an 
institution  was  driving  at.  "  Of  all  human  sounds,"  she 
said,  "  I  think  the  words  I  don't  know  are  the  saddest." 
Unless  a  book  had  something  of  definite  importance  to  say,  it 
had  better,  she  thought,  not  be  written  ;  and  in  order  to  save 
the  reader's  time  and  fix  his  attention,  he  should  be  told  at 
once  wherein  the  significance  of  the  book  consists.  This, 
though  it  may  be  a  hard  saying,  is  perhaps  not  unwholesome 
even  to  biographers.  At  any  rate,  as  Miss  Nightingale's 
biographer,  I  am  moved  to  obey  her  injunction.  I  propose, 
therefore,  in  this  Introductory  chapter  to  state  wherein,  as  I 
conceive,  the  significance  and  importance  of  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's life  consists,  and  what  the  work  was  that  she  did  in 
the  world. 

"  In  the  course  of  a  life's  experience  such  as  scarcely 
any  one  has  ever  had,  I  have  always  found,"  said  Miss 
Nightingale,1 "  that  no  one  ever  deserves  his  or  her  character. 
Be  it  better  or  worse  than  the  real  one,  it  is  always  unlike  the 
real  one."  Of  no  one  is  this  saying  more  true  than  of  herself. 
"  It  has  been  your  fate,"  said  Mr.  Jowett  to  her  once,  "  to 

1  In  a  letter  to  Madame  Mohl,  December  13,  1871. 


become  a  Legend  in  your  lifetime."  Now,  nothing  is  more 
persistent  than  a  legend ;  and  the  legend  of  Florence 
Nightingale  became  fixed  early  in  her  life — at  a  time,  indeed, 
antecedent  to  that  at  which  her  best  work  in  the  world,  as 
she  thought,  had  begun.  The  popular  imagination  of  Miss 
Nightingale  is  of  a  girl  of  high  degree  who,  moved  by  a  wave 
of  pity,  forsook  the  pleasures  of  fashionable  life  for  the  horrors 
of  the  Crimean  War ;  who  went  about  the  hospitals  of 
Scutari  with  a  lamp,  scattering  flowers  of  comfort  and 
ministration  ;  who  retired  at  the  close  of  the  war  into  private 
life,  and  lived  thenceforth  in  the  seclusion  of  an  invalid's 
room — a  seclusion  varied  only  by  good  deeds  to  hospitals 
and  nurses  and  by  gracious  and  sentimental  pieties.  I  do 
not  mean,  of  course,  that  this  was  all  that  anybody  knew  or 
wrote  about  her.  Any  such  suggestion  would  be  far  from  the 
truth.  But  the  popular  idea  of  Florence  Nightingale's  life 
has  been  based  on  some  such  lines  as  I  have  indicated,  and 
the  general  conception  of  her  character  is  to  this  day  founded 
upon  them.  The  legend  was  fixed  by  Longfellow's  poem  and 
Miss  Yonge's  Golden  Deeds.  Its  growth  was  favoured  by  the 
fact  of  Miss  Nightingale's  seclusion,  by  the  hidden,  almost 
the  secretive,  manner  in  which  she  worked,  by  her  shrinking 
from  publicity,  by  her  extreme  reticence  about  herself.  It 
is  only  now,  when  her  Papers  are  accessible,  that  her  real  life 
can  be  known.  There  are  some  elements  of  truth  in  the 
popular  legend,  but  it  is  so  remote  from  the  whole  truth  as 
to  convey  in  general  impression  everything  but  the  truth. 
The  real  Florence  Nightingale  was  very  different  from  the 
legendary,  but  also  greater.  Her  life  was  built  on  larger 
lines,  her  work  had  more  importance,  than  belong  to  the 

The  Crimean  War  was  not  the  first  thing,  and  still  less  was 
it  the  last,  that  is  significant  in  Miss  Nightingale's  life.  The 
story  of  her  earlier  years  is  that  of  the  building  up  of  a  char- 
acter. It  shows  us  a  girl  of  high  natural  ability  and  of 
considerable  attractions  feeling  her  way  to  an  ideal  alike 
in  practice  and  in  speculation.  Having  found  it,  she  was 
thrown  into  revolt  against  the  environment  of  her  home.  We 
shall  see  her  pursuing  her  ideal  with  consistent,  though  with 
self-torturing,  tenacity  against  alike  the  obstacles  and  the 


temptations  of  circumstance.  She  had  already  served  an 
apprenticeship  when  the  call  to  the  Crimea  came.  It  was  a 
call  not  to  "  sacrifice,"  but  to  the  fulfilment  of  her  dearest 
wishes  for  a  life  of  active  usefulness.  Such  is  the  theme  of  the 
First  Part,  which  I  have  called  "  Aspiration." 

Many  other  women  have  passed  through  similar  experi- 
ences. But  there  is  special  significance  in  them  in  the  case 
of  Florence  Nightingale — a  significance  both  historic  and 
personal.  The  glamour  that  surrounded  her  service  in  the 
Crimea,  the  wide-world  publicity  that  was  given  to  her  name 
and  deeds,  invested  with  peculiar  importance  her  fight  for  *. 
freedom.  To  do  "  as  Florence  Nightingale  did  "  became  an  / 
object  of  imitation  which  the  well-to-do  world  was  hence- 
forth readier  to  condone,  or  even  to  approve  ;  and  thus  the 
story  of  Miss  Nightingale's  earlier  years  is  the  history  of  a 
pioneer,  on  one  side,  in  the  emancipation  of  women. 

For  the  understanding  of  her  own  later  life,  the  earlier 
years  are  all-important.  They  give  the  clue  to  her  character, 
and  explain  much  that  would  otherwise  be  puzzling  or  con- 
fused. Through  great  difficulties  and  at  a  heavy  price 
she  had  purchased  her  birthright  —  her  ideal  of  self- 
expression  in  work.  On  her  return  from  the  Crimea  she  was 
placed,  on  the  one  hand,  owing  to  her  fame,  in  a  position  of 
special  opportunity  ;  on  the  other  hand,  owing  to  illness,  in  a 
position  of  special  disability.  She  shaped  her  life  hence- 
forward so  as  to  make  these  two  factors  conform  to  the  con- 
tinued fulfilment  of  her  ideal.  I  need  not  here  forestall 
what  subsequent  chapters  will  abundantly  illustrate.  I  will 
only  say  that  the  resultant  effect  was  a  manner  of  life  and 
work,  both  extraordinary,  and,  to  me  at  least,  of  the  greatest 

The  Second  Part  of  the  Memoir  is  devoted  to  the  Crimean 
War.  The  popular  conception  with  regard  to  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's work  during  this  episode  in  her  life  is  not  untrue  so  far 
as  it  goes,  but  it  is  amazingly  short  of  the  whole  truth  as 
now  ascertainable  from  her  Papers.  The  popular  imagina- 
tion pictures  Florence  Nightingale  at  Scutari  and  in  the 
Crimea  as  "  the  ministering  angel."  And  such  in  very  truth 


she  was.  But  the  deeper  significance  of  her  work  in  the 
Crimean  War  lies  elsewhere.  It  was  as  Administrator  and 
Reformer,  more  than  as  Angel,  that  she  showed  her  peculiar 
powers.  Queen  Victoria,  with  native  shrewdness  and  a 
touch  of  humour,  hit  off  the  truth  about  Miss  Nightingale's 
services  in  the  Crimea  in  concise  words  :  "  Such  a  clear  head, 
I  wish  we  had  her  at  the  War  Office." 

The  influence  of  Miss  Nightingale's  service  in  the  Crimea 
was  great.  Some  of  it  is  obvious,  and  on  the  moral  side 
Longfellow's  poem  said  the  first,  and  the  last,  word.  She 
may  also  be  accounted,  if  not  the  founder,  yet  the  promoter  of 
Female  Nursing  in  war,  and  the  Red  Cross  Societies  through- 
out the  world  are,  as  we  shall  hear,  the  direct  outcome  of  her 
labours  in  the  Crimea.  The  indirect,  and  less  obvious, 
results  were  in  many  spheres.  From  a  sick-room  in  the  West 
End  of  London  Miss  Nightingale  played  a  part — and  a  much 
larger  part  than  could  be  known  without  access  to  her  Papers 
— in  reforming  the  sanitary  administration  of  the  British 
army,  in  reconstructing  hospitals  throughout  the  world,  in 
founding  the  modern  art  of  nursing,  in  setting  up  a  sanitary 
administration  in  India,  and  in  promoting  various  other 
reforms  in  that  country 

Miss  Nightingale's  return  from  the  Crimea,  it  will  thus  be 
seen,  was  not  the  end  of  her  active  life.  In  a  sense  it  was  the 
beginning.  The  nursing  at  Scutari  and  in  the  Crimea  was  an 
episode.  The  fame  which  she  shunned,  but  which  neverthe- 
less came  to  her,  gave  her  a  starting-point  for  doing  work 
which  was  destined,  as  she  hoped,  and  as  in  large  measure 
was  granted,  to  be  of  permanent  service  to  her  country 
and  the  world.  The  first  chapter  of  the  Third  Part  shows 
her  laying  her  plans  for  the  health  of  the  British  soldier, 
and  the  subsequent  chapters  tell  what  followed.  This 
is  the  period  of  Miss  Nightingale's  close  co-operation  with 
Sidney  Herbert.  To  the  writer  this  later  phase  of  Miss 
Nightingale's  life — with  its  ingenious  adjustment  of  means 
to  ends,  its  masterful  resourcefulness,  its  incessant  industry, 
and  then  with  its  perpetual  struggle  against  physical  weak- 
ness and  its  extraordinary  power  of  devoted  concentration- 
has  seemed  not  less  interesting  than  the  Crimean  episode. 


The  Fourth  Part  describes,  as  its  main  themes,  the  work 
which  Miss  Nightingale  did,  concurrently  with  that  described 
in  the  preceding  Part,  as  Hospital  Reformer  and  the  Founder 
of  Modern  Nursing.  Other  chapters  introduce  two  topics 
which  might  at  first  sight  seem  widely  separate,  but  which 
were  yet  closely  associated  in  Miss  Nightingale's  mind.  They 
deal  with  her,  respectively,  as  a  Passionate  Statistician  and 
as  a  Religious  Thinker.  The  nature  of  her  speculations  is 
fully  explained  in  the  latter  chapters,  and  elsewhere  in  the 
memoir.  It  will  be  seen  that  Miss  Nightingale  had  thought 
out  a  scheme  of  religious  belief  which  widely  differed  from 
the  creeds  of  Christian  orthodoxy,  whether  Catholic  or 
Protestant,  but  which  yet  admitted  of  accommodation  to 
much  of  their  language  and  formularies.  It  admitted  also, 
as  will  appear  in  due  course,  of  close  alliance  with  mysticism. 
Miss  Nightingale  believed  intensely  in  a  Personal  God  and  in 
personal  religion.  The  language  which  expressed  most 
adequately  to  her  the  sense  of  union  with  God  was  the 
language  of  the  Greek  and  Christian  mystics.  But  "  law  " 
was  to  her  "  the  thought  of  God  "  ;  union  with  God  meant 
co-operation  with  Him  towards  human  perfectibility  ;  and 
for  the  discovery  of  "  the  thought  of  God  "  statistics  were  to 
her  mind  an  indispensable  means. 

In  the  Fifth  Part  we  are  introduced  to  a  new  interest  in 
Miss  Nightingale's  life,  a  new  sphere  of  her  work.  For  forty 
years  she  worked  at  Indian  questions.  She  took  up  the 
subject  at  first  through  interest  in  the  army.  It  was  a 
natural  supplement  to  her  efforts  for  the  health  of  the  British 
soldier  at  home,  to  make  a  like  attempt  on  behalf  of  the  army 
in  India.  Gradually  she  was  drawn  into  other  questions, 
and  she  became  a  keen  Indian  reformer  all  along  the  line. 
Her  assiduity,  her  persistence,  her  ingenuity  were  as  marked 
in  this  sphere  as  in  others  ;  it  was  only  her  immediate  success 
that  was  less. 

In  relation  to  the  primary  object  with  which  she  began 
her  Indian  campaigns,  Miss  Nightingale's  life  and  work  have 
great  importance.  The  Royal  Commission  of  1859-63,  which 
was  due  to  her,  and  the  measures  taken  in  consequence  of 
its  Report,  were  the  starting-point  of  a  new  era  in  sanitary 


improvement  for  the  army.  The  results  have  been  most 
salutary.  Miss  Nightingale's  friendship  with  Lord  Stanley 
and  with  Sir  John  Lawrence  here  served  her  somewhat  as 
that  with  Mr.  Herbert  served  in  the  earlier  campaign.  In 
the  wider  sphere  of  Indian  sanitation  generally  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's efforts  were  not  so  successful.  The  field  was  perhaps 
too  vast,  the  conditions  were  too  adverse,  for  any  great  and 
immediate  success  to  be  possible.  Yet  this  and  her  other 
efforts  for  India  were  the  part  of  Miss  Nightingale's  life  and 
work  to  which  she  attached  most  importance,  and  by  the 
record  of  which  she  set  most  store.  Even  in  the  Will  (after- 
wards revoked)  directing  her  Papers  to  be  destroyed,  she 
made  exception  of  those  relating  to  India  ;  and,  as  already 
stated  in  the  preface,  one  of  her  few  pieces  of  autobiographical 
record  related  to  her  Indian  work.  Perhaps  it  was  the  special 
affection  which  a  mother  often  feels  for  the  least  robust  or 
least  successful  child.  Perhaps  it  was  that  she  took  long 
views  ;  and  that,  foreseeing  a  future  time  when  many  of  the 
reforms  for  which  she  had  toiled  might  be  accomplished,  she 
desired  to  be  remembered  as  a  pioneer.  "  Sanitation,"  said 
a  high  authority  in  1894,  "  is  the  Cinderella  of  the  Indian 
administrative  family."  x  The  difficulty  of  finding  money 
and  a  reluctance  to  introduce  Western  reforms  in  advance  of 
Eastern  opinion  are  objections  with  which  we  shall  often 
meet  in  the  correspondence  of  Indian  officials  with  Miss 
Nightingale,  and  they  are  still  raised  in  the  present  day.2 
On  the  other  hand,  the  Under-Secretary  for  India,  in  his 
Budget  Statement  for  1913,  declared  that  "  the  service  which 
has  the  strongest  claim  after  education  on  the  resources  of 
the  Government  is  sanitation,"  and  explained  that  "  the 
Budget  estimate  of  expenditure  for  sanitation  comes  this 
year  to  nearly  £2,000,000,  showing  an  increase  of  112  per 
cent  over  the  expenditure  of  three  years  ago."  So  perhaps 
Cinderella  is  to  go  to  the  ball ;  if  ever  the  glass  slipper  is 

1  Sir  Auckland  Colvin  in  the  Journal  of  the  Society  of  Arts,  May  n, 
1894,  p.  515. 

2  As,  for  instance,  in  some  of  the  speeches  in  the  House  of  Lords  on 
June  9,  1913,  and  in  a  leading  article  in  the  Times  of  the  following  day. 
The  speech  of  Lord  Midleton,  in  introducing  the  subject,  was,   on  the 
other  hand,  upon  Miss  Nightingale's  lines,  being  founded  upon  the  Report 
of  her  Royal  Commission  of   1859-63.      Some  pages   (194-197)   in   Mr. 
George  Peel's  The  Future  of  England  (1911)  are  on  similar  lines. 


found,  let  it  be  remembered,  as  this  Memoir  will  show,  that 
Miss  Nightingale  was  the  good  fairy. 

Her  Indian  work  continued  as  long  as  she  was  able  to 
work  at  all,  and  from  1862  onwards  it  forms  one  of  the 
recurring  themes  in  our  story.  The  Sixth  Part,  while  con- 
tinuing that  subject,  introduces  another  sphere  in  which  Miss 
Nightingale's  life  and  work  have  important  significance. 
From  the  reform  of  Hospital  Nursing  she  turned,  in  con- 
junction with  the  late  Mr.  William  Rathbone,  to  the  reform 
of  workhouse  nursing.  And  as  one  thing  led  to  another,  it 
will  be  seen  that  Miss  Nightingale  deserves  to  be  remembered 
also  as  a  Poor  Law  Reformer. 

The  Seventh  Part  comprises  the  last  thirty-eight  years  of 
Miss  Nightingale's  life  (1872-1910),  and  a  word  or  two  may 
here  be  said  to  explain  an  apparent  alteration  of  scale.  In  a 
biography  the  scale  must  be  proportionate  not  to  the  number 
of  the  years,  but  to  their  richness  in  characteristic  signifi- 
cance. After  1872,  the  year  in  which  (as  Miss  Nightingale 
put  it)  she  went  "  out  of  office,"  her  life  was  less  full  than 
theretofore  in  new  activities.  The  germinant  seeds  had  all 
been  sown.  But  these  later  years,  though  they  have  ad- 
mitted of  more  summary  treatment,  were  full  of  interest. 
The  chapters  in  which  they  are  recorded  deal  first  with  Miss 
Nightingale's  literary  work,  and  more  especially  with  her 
studies  in  Plato  and  the  Christian  mystics.  These  studies 
were  in  part  a  result  of  her  close  friendship  of  thirty  years 
with  Mr.  Jowett.  Then,  too,  occasion  is  found  for  an 
endeavour  to  portray  Miss  Nightingale  as  the  Mother-Chief 
(for  so  they  called  her)  of  the  Nurses.  It  is  only  by  access  to 
her  enormous  correspondence  in  this  sort  that  the  range  and 
extent  of  her  personal  influence  can  be  measured.  Her  ideal 
of  the  nursing  vocation  stands  out  very  clearly  from  the 
famous  "  Nurses'  Battle  "  which  occupied  much  of  her  later 
years.  She  found  an  opportunity  during  the  same  period  to 
start  an  important  experiment  in  Rural  Hygiene.  At  the 
same  time  she  was  preaching  indefatigably  the  need  of 
Health  missionaries  in  Indian  villages.  And  then  came  the 
end.  To  the  time  of  labour,  there  succeeds  in  every  life, 


says  Ruskin,  "  the  time  of  death ;  which  in  happy  lives  is 
very  short,  but  always  a  time.''  In  the  case  of  Miss  Nightin- 
gale the  time  was  long.  She  lived  for  many  years  after  the 
power  to  labour  was  gone. 


So  much,  by  way  of  preface,  in  explanation  of  the 
significance  of  Miss  Nightingale's  life  and  work.  But  this 
book  endeavours  to  depict  a  character,  as  well  as  to  record  a 
career.  There  has  been  much  discussion,  in  our  days  as  in 
others,  of  the  proper  scope  and  method  of  biography,  and 
various  models  are  held  up,  in  one  sense  or  another,  to 
practitioners  in  this  difficult  art.  The  questions  are  pro- 
pounded, whether  biography  should  describe  a  person's  life 
or  his  character  ?  his  work  or  how  he  did  it  ?  If  the 
person  did  anything  worthy  of  record,  a  biography  should, 
surely,  describe  alike  the  life  and  the  character,  the  work  and 
the  methods.  The  biographer  may  fail  in  his  attempt ;  but 
in  the  case  of  Miss  Nightingale  the  attempt  is  peculiarly 
necessary,  because  all  that  she  did  and  the  manner  in  which 
she  did  it  were,  as  it  has  seemed  to  me,  characteristic  of  a 
strongly-marked  personality  behind  them. 

This  book  is,  however,  a  biography  and  not  a  history.  It 
is  not  a  history  of  the  Crimean  War,  nor  of  nursing,  nor  of 
Indian  administration.  Something  on  all  these  matters  will 
be  found  in  it ;  but  only  so  much  of  detail  as  was  necessary 
to  place  Miss  Nightingale's  work  in  its  true  light  and  to 
exhibit  her  characteristic  methods.  So,  also,  many  other 
persons  will  pass  across  the  stage — persons  drawn  from 
a  great  many  different  classes,  occupations,  walks  in  life  ; 
but  the  book  does  not  aim  at  giving  a  detailed  picture  of 
"  Miss  Nightingale's  circle."  Her  relations,  her  friends, 
her  acquaintances,  her  correspondents  only  concern  us  here 
in  so  far  as  their  dealings  with  her  affected  her  work,  or 
illustrate  her  character. 

Here,  again — to  revert  to  what  has  been  said  above — 
it  will  be  found,  I  think,  that  this  book  possesses  a  certain 
significance  as  correcting,  or  supplementing,  a  popular 
legend.  A  preacher,  in  an  obituary  sermon  upon  Miss 
Nightingale,  said  that  all  her  work  was  done  "  by  force  of 


simple  goodness/'  Assuredly  Miss  Nightingale  was  a  good 
woman,  and  there  was  also  a  certain  simplicity  about  her. 
But  there  was  much  else.  A  man  of  affairs,  who  in  the 
course  of  a  long  and  varied  life  had  come  in  contact  with 
many  of  the  acutest  intellects  and  greatest  administrators  of 
the  time,  said  of  Miss  Nightingale  that  hers  was  the  clearest 
brain  he  had  ever  known  in  man  or  woman.  Strength  of 
head  was  quite  as  marked  in  her  as  goodness  of  heart,  and 
she  had  at  least  as  much  of  adroitness  as  of  simplicity.  Her 
character  was  in  fact  curiously  many-sided.  A  remarkable 
variety  of  interests,  motives,  methods  will  be  found  coming 
into  play  in  the  course  of  this  record.  The  Florence  Nightin- 
gale who  will  be  shown  in  it — by  her  acts,  her  methods,  her 
sayings,  her  ways  of  looking  at  things  and  people — is  a  very 
different  person  from  Santa  Filomena.  Miss  Nightingale 
has  been  given  a  place  among  the  saints  in  the  popular 
calendars  of  many  nations  ;  and  she  deserves  the  canonisa- 
tion, but  not  entirely  for  the  popular  reasons.  Her  char- 
acter, as  I  have  endeavoured  to  depict  it,  was  stronger,  more 
spacious,  and,  as  I  have  felt,  more  lovable  than  that  of  The 
Lady  with  the  Lamp. 

PART    I 



I  go  to  prove  my  soul  ! 
I  see  my  way  as  birds  their  trackless  way. 
I  shall  arrive — what  time,  what  circuit  first, 
I  ask  not ;    but  unless  God  send  his  hail 
Or  blinding  fire-balls,  sleet,  or  stifling  snow, 
In  some  time,  his  good  time,  I  shall  arrive  : 
He  guides  me  and  the  bird.     In  his  good  time. 

BROWNING  :  Paracelsus. 

VOL.  T 



I  found  her  in  her  chamber  reading  Phaedon  Platonis  in  Greek,  and 
that  with  as  much  pleasure  as  some  gentlemen  would  read  a  merry  tale  in 
Bocace. — ROGER  ASCHAM. 

To  the  tender  sentiment  and  popular  adoration  that  gathered 
around  the  subject  of  this  Memoir,  something  perhaps  was 
added  by  the  beauty  of  a  name  which  linked  together  the 
City  of  the  Flowers  and  the  music  of  the  birds.  Her  sur- 
name suggested  to  Longfellow  the  title  of  the  poem  which 
has  carried  home  to  the  hearts  of  thousands  in  two  continents 
a  lesson  of  her  life.  The  popularity  of  "  Florence  " — in  the 
Middle  Ages  a  masculine  name — as  a  Christian  name  for 
English  girls  is  noted  by  the  historian  of  that  subject  as 
due  to  association  with  the  heroine  of  the  Crimea. 

Both  of  her  names  were  the  result  of  circumstance.  Her 
father  came  of  the  old  Derbyshire  family  of  Shore  of  Tapton, 
and  changed  his  name  in  1815  from  William  Edward  Shore 
to  William  Edward  Nightingale  on  succeeding  to  the  pro- 
perty of  his  mother's  uncle,  Peter  Nightingale  of  Lea,  in 
the  same  county.  Mr.  William  Nightingale  was  fond  of 
travel,  and  the  close  of  the  French  war,  shortly  before  his 
marriage  (1818),  had  thrown  the  Continent  open  to  the 
grand  tour.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Nightingale's  only  children,  two 
daughters,  were  born  during  a  sojourn  in  Italy.  The  elder 
was  born  at  Naples  in  1819,  and  was  named,  firstly,  Frances, 



after  her  mother,  and,  secondly,  after  the  old  Greek  settle- 
ment on  the  site  of  her  birthplace,  Parthenope.  She  after- 
wards became  the  second  wife  of  Sir  Harry  Verney.1  The 
younger  daughter,  the  subject  of  this  Memoir,  was  also 
named  after  her  birthplace.  She  was  born  at  Florence  on 
May  12,  1820,  in  the  Villa  Colombaia,  near  the  Porta 
Romana,  as  a  memorial-tablet  now  affixed  to  the  house 
records  ;  and  there  on  the  4th  of  July  she  was  baptized 
by  Dr.  Trevor,  Prebendary  of  Chester.  The  place-names 
became  in  familiar  intercourse  "  Parthe  "  or  "  Pop,"  and 
"  Flo." 

"  The  surprises  of  sainthood,"  said  a  speaker  at  a 
Congress  on  Eugenics,  "  are  no  less  remarkable  than  those 
of  genius.  St.  Francis  of  Assisi,  St.  Catherine  of  Siena,  and 
Florence  Nightingale  could  no  more  have  been  predicted 
from  their  ancestry  than  Napoleon,  Beethoven,  Michael 
Angelo,  or  Shakespeare."  But  the  peculiarities  of  tissue  on 
which  some  physical  characteristics  are  held  to  depend 
can,  at  any  rate,  be  inherited.  Florence  Nightingale's 
mother  was  one  of  the  eleven  children  of  William  Smith 
of  Parndon  Hall,  Essex,  of  whom  Sir  James  Stephen  said  : 
r<  When  he  had  nearly  completed  four  score  years,  he  could 
still  gratefully  acknowledge  that  he  had  no  remembrance 
of  any  bodily  pain  or  illness,  and  that  of  the  very  numerous 
family  of  which  he  was  the  head  every  member  still  lived 
to  support  and  gladden  his  old  age."  This  statement  is 
not  absolutely  correct,  for  one  child  did  not  long  survive  its 
birth ;  but  of  the  other  sons  and  daughters  of  William 
Smith,  none  died  at  an  earlier  age  than  69,  two  lived  to  be 
more  than  75,  six  to  be  more  than  80,  and  one  to  be  more 
than  90.  This  last  was  Frances,  Mrs.  Nightingale,  who 
lived  to  be  92.  On  the  father's  side  there  was  longevity 
also.  Mr.  Nightingale  himself  lived  to  be  80.  His  mother 
lived  to  be  95  ;  he  had  an  aunt  who  lived  to  be  90  ;  and 
"  your  uncle,"  wrote  his  father,  "  young  at  82,  enters  into 
politics  of  the  present  moment  with  all  the  ardour  of  22." 
Of  the  children  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  William  Nightingale,  Par- 
thenope lived  to  be  75,  and  Florence,  though  (or,  in  part, 

1  To  avoid  confusion,  I  sometimes  refer  to  her  before  her  marriage  as 
"  Lady  Verney,"  reserving  "  Miss  Nightingale  "  throughout  for  Florence. 


perhaps,  because)  she  lived  for  53  years  the  life  of  an  invalid, 
attained  the  age  of  90. 

Florence  Nightingale,  whether  saint  or  not,  was  certainly 
conscious  of  a  "  call  "  ;  but  there  was  nothing  in  her  descent 
or  inheritance  which  encouraged  her  parents  to  allow  it  to 
become  readily  effectual.  Because  she  was  a  woman,  her 
early  life  was  one  long  struggle  for  liberation  from  circum- 
stance and  social  prepossessions.  Yet  there  were  features 
in  her  mental  equipment  and  intellectual  outlook  which  may 
well  have  been,  inherited,  and  which  certainly  owed  much 
to  environment.  Sir  James  Stephen  adds  to  the  remarks 
quoted  above  that  if  William  Smith  "  had  gone  mourning 
all  his  days,  he  could  scarcely  have  acquired  a  more  tender 
pity  for  the  miserable,  or  have  laboured  more  habitually 
for  their  relief."  In  politics  he  was  a  follower  of  Fox.  He 
was  a  friend  of  Wilberforce,  with  whom  he  co-operated  in 
the  House  of  Commons  in  the  Abolitionist  and  other  humani- 
tarian movements.  Of  Wilberforce,  as  of  Thomas  Clarkson, 
"  he  possessed  the  almost  brotherly  love,  and  of  all  their 
fellow-labourers  there  was  none  who  was  more  devoted  to 
their  cause,  or  whom  they  more  entirely  trusted."  l  In 
religion  a  Unitarian,  he  was  a  stout  defender  of  liberty  of 
thought  and  conscience,  a  persistent  opponent  of  religious 
tests  and  disabilities.  The  liberal  opinions,  alike  in  Church 
and  State,  which  were  thus  traditional  in  the  family  of 
Florence  Nightingale's  mother,  were  shared  by  that  of  her 
father.  Her  grandfather  Shore,  in  a  letter  to  his  son  in  1818, 
referred  to  "  one  of  the  finest  pieces  of  eloquence  either  in 
ancient  or  modern  times,  given  by  Sir  Samuel  Romilly  in 
the  Court  of  Chancery  on  a  motion  respecting  the  right  of 
Jews  to  the  benefit  of  a  charity  in  Bedford.  It  does  honour 
to  the  man  and  to  human  nature."  Florence  Nightingale's 
father  was  also  a  Unitarian  ;  and  in  politics  he  was  a  Whig. 
"  How  I  hate  Tories,"  he  wrote  to  his  wife  ;  and  in  another 
letter,  after  the  election  of  1835,  in  which  the  hated  ones 
had  gained  ground,  he  explained  that  they  were  mighty 
only  "  by  Beer,  Brandy,  and  Money."  The  Whigs,  as  is 

1  Essays  in  Ecclesiastical  Biography,  "  The  Clapham  Sect,"  pp.  543- 
544  (ed.  1860).  Miss  Nightingale  referred  to  this  association  of  her  grand- 
father with  Wilberforce  and  Clarkson  in  one  of  her  Addresses  to  Probationers 


well  known,  were  not  all  lacking  in  the  latter  equipment 
for  political  success,  and  Mr.  Nightingale  was  a  frequent 
subscriber  to  electoral  funds  on  the  Whig  side.  He  was  an 
ardent  supporter  of  Parliamentary  Reform.  He  held  that 
"  Bentham  has  taught  great  moral  truth  more  effectually 
than  all  the  Christian  divines."  At  a  later  time  he  was  a 
follower  of  Lord  Palmerston,  of  whom  he  was  also  a  neigh- 
bour in  the  country.  One  of  the  earliest  notices  which  I 
find  of  Florence  Nightingale's  interest  in  politics  is  in  a 
letter  from  her  father  describing  a  meeting  at  Romsey  to 
which  he  had  taken  her.  "  Florence,"  he  says,  "  approved 
very  much  Palmerston's  exposition  of  his  foreign  policy." 

Something  else  Florence  Nightingale  owed  to,,  or  shared 
with,  her  father.  He,  like  some  other  members  of  his 
family,  was  of  a  reflective  temperament,  interested  in 
speculative  problems.  There  is  a  letter  written  by  him  to 
his  wife  from  his  father's  sick-room  (Sept.  1822)  which 
shows  the  bent  of  his  thoughts : — 

I  sit  by  his  bedside  and  look  at  him  as  one  would  at  a  sleeping 
man,  the  idea  of  death  only  now  and  then  flashing  across  my 
mind.  I  have  been  studying  Mad.  de  Stael  on  the  feeling  of 
conviction,  which  exists  more  or  less  in  different  people  and 
different  nations,  on  the  subject  of  soul  as  independent  of  external 
ideas.  My  imagination  is  a  dull  one,  for  it  certainly  required 
study  with  me  to  feel  the  full  force  of  conviction  that  soul  does 
and  must  exist  quite  separately  from,  though  influenced  by, 
external  circumstances.  You  will  say,  I  know,  with  a  firm 
belief  in  Scripture  and  religion,  Leave  all  philosophical  speculation 
to  the  wild  imaginations  of  the  Germans.  Nothing  can  change 
your  reliance  on  religion.  The  perversity  of  my  nature  refers 
me  to  experience  and  analogies,  though  I  begin  to  think  that 
the  study  of  the  creation  displayed  before  our  faculties  will 
exalt  me  into  a  conception  of  Divinity  completely  pervading 
the  whole,  but  particularly  that  part  of  man  which  enables  him 
to  feel  the  difference  between  right  and  wrong  independently 
of  the  ideas  which  he  derives  from  external  circumstances. 

Florence  Nightingale's  mother  accepted  the  religious 
standpoint  of  the  day  without  question.  Unitarianism  was 
dropped  by  her  and  by  her  elder  daughter  ;  by  Florence  it 
was,  as  we  shall  hear,  transcended.  The  mother's  essential 
bent  was  practical,  though  the  scope  of  it  was  somewhat 


limited.  The  mind  of  her  daughter  Florence  found  room 
in  equal  measure  for  practice  and  for  contemplation.  She 
inherited  her  mother's  organising  capacity,  though  she 
turned  it  to  directions  of  her  own.  It  was  from  her  father 
that  she  inherited  the  taste  for  speculative  inquiry  which 
absorbed  a  large  part  of  her  life. 


From  the  worldly  circumstances  of  her  parents  Florence 
came  to  draw  conclusions  little  sympathetic,  in  some  respects, 
with  existing  usages  and  conventions.  She  accepted,  indeed, 
the  position  of  worldly  wealth  into  which  she  was  born  with- 
out any  fundamental  questioning.  In  later  years  a  young 
friend,  on  being  urged  to  visit  the  villagers  around  one  of 
Miss  Nightingale's  country  homes,  explained  that  she  did  not 
like  the  relation,  she  could  not  bring  herself  to  go  from  a  big 
comfortable  house  to  instruct  poor  people  how  to  live.  Miss 
Nightingale  laughed,  and  said,  "  You  surely  don't  call  Lea 
Hurst  a  big  house."  It  had  only  about  fifteen  bedrooms. 
She  took  for  granted  the  position  into  which  she  was  born. 
But  she  thought  that  wealth  should  only  be  used  as  a  means 
of  work.  The  easy,  comfortable,  not  very  strenuous  condi- 
tions of  her  home  life  as  a  girl  fixed  the  nature  of  her  earlier 
years,  but  her  soul  did  not  become  rooted  in  them.  They 
sowed  seeds  which  grew,  as  the  years  passed,  not  into  ac- 
quiescence, but  into  revolt.  Mr.  Nightingale  had  inherited 
his  great-uncle's  property  when  nine  years  old.  It  accumu- 
lated for  him,  and  a  lead  mine  added  greatly  to  its  value. 
By  the  time  of  his  marriage  he  was  blessed  (or,  as  his  younger 
daughter  came  to  think,  afflicted)  by  the  possession  of  a 
considerable  fortune.  Whether  it  were  indeed  a  blessing 
or  an  affliction,  it  involved  him  in  much  uncertainty  of  mind. 
He  and  his  wife  returned  from  the  Continent  with  their 
infant  daughters  in  1821,  and  the  question  became  urgent, 
Where  to  live  ?  The  landed  property  which  he  inherited 
from  his  great-uncle  was  a  comparatively  small  estate  at 
and  around  Lea  Hall  in  Derbyshire.  To  this  property  he 
added  largely.  The  Hall,  the  old  residence  of  his  great- 
uncle,  was  discarded  (it  is  now  used  as  a  farm-house),  and 


Mr.  Nightingale  built  a  new  house,  called  Lea  Hurst.  The 
charm  of  its  situation  and  prospect  is  described  in  a  letter  by 
Mrs.  Gaskell : — 

"  High  as  Lea  Hurst  is,  one  seems  on  a  pinnacle,  with  the 
clouds  careering  round  one.  Down  below  is  a  garden  with 
stone  terraces  and  flights  of  steps — the  planes  of  these  terraces 
being  perfectly  gorgeous  with  masses  of  hollyhocks,  dahlias, 
nasturtiums,  geraniums,  etc.  Then  a  sloping  meadow  losing 
itself  in  a  steep  wooded  descent  (such  tints  over  the  wood  !) 
to  the  river  Derwent,  the  rocks  on  the  other  side  of  which  form 
the  first  distance,  and  are  of  a  red  colour  streaked  with  misty 
purple.  Beyond  this,  interlacing  hills,  forming  three  ranges  of 
distance ;  the  first,  deep  brown  with  decaying  heather ;  the 
next,  in  some  purple  shadow,  and  the  last  catching  some  pale, 
watery  sunlight."  "  I  am  left  alone,"  continued  Mrs.  Gaskell, 
"  established  high  up,  in  two  rooms,  opening  one  out  of  the  other 
— the  old  nurseries."  (The  inner  one,  in  which  Mrs.  Gaskell 
slept,  was,  when  Parthenope  grew  up,  her  bedroom.)  "It  is 
curious  how  simple  it  is.  The  old  carpet  doesn't  cover  the 
floor.  No  easy  chair,  no  sofa,  a  little  curtainless  bed,  a  small 
glass.  In  the  outer  room — the  former  day  nursery — Miss 
Florence's  room  when  she  is  at  home,  everything  is  equally 
simple ;  now,  of  course,  the  bed  is  reconverted  into  a  sofa ;  two 
small  tables,  a  few  bookshelves,  a  drab  carpet  only  partially 
covering  the  clean  boards,  and  stone-coloured  walls — as  cold 
in  colouring  as  need  be,  but  with  one  low  window  on  one  side, 
trellised  over  with  Virginian  creeper  as  gorgeous  as  can  be  ; 
and  the  opposite  one,  by  which  I  am  writing,  looking  over  such 
country  !  "  1 

The  sound  of  the  Derwent  was  often  in  Florence's  ears. 
When  she  was  in  the  Hospital  at  Scutari  any  fretting  in  the 
Straits  recalled  it  to  her.  "  How  I  like,"  she  said  on  a 
stormy  night,  "  to  hear  that  ceaseless  roar  ;  it  puts  me  in 
mind  of  the  dear  Derwent ;  how  often  I  have  listened  to  it 
from  the  nursery  window." 

Lea  Hurst  became  one  of  Florence  Nightingale's  earliest 
homes  in  England,  but  it  was  not  the  earliest  of  all.  The 
house  was  not  built  when  the  family  returned  from  the 
Continent,  and  Mr.  Nightingale  took  Kynsham  Court, 

1  From  a  letter  to  Catherine  Winkworth,  October  20,  1854,  kindly 
communicated  by  Miss  Meta  Gaskell.  Mrs.  Gaskell  had  gone  to  stay  at 
Lea  Hurst  with  the  understanding  that  she  was  to  have  a  quiet  time  for 
writing,  remaining  in  the  house  as  long  as  she  might  wish  after  the  family 
had  left  it.  For  other  passages  from  the  letter,  see  pp.  39,  41,  139. 


Presteigne,  in  Herefordshire.  The  place,  it  seems,  was 
"  more  picturesque  than  habitable,"  and  negotiations  for 
the  purchase  of  it,  with  a  view  to  improvements,  fell  through. 
Mr.  Nightingale  liked  Derbyshire,  and  was  fond  of  his  new 
house ;  but  the  rich,  as  well  as  the  poor,  have  their  per- 
plexities. "  The  difficulty  is,"  wrote  Mr.  Nightingale  to  his 
wife,  "  where  is  the  county  that  is  habitable  for  twelve 
successive  months  ?  "  And,  again,  "  How  would  you  like 
Leicestershire  ?  For  my  part,  I  think  that,  provided  I 
could  get  about  2000  acres  and  a  house  in  some  neighbour- 
ing county  where  sporting  and  scenery  were  in  tolerable 
abundance,  and  the  visit  to  Lea  Hurst  were  annually  confined 
to  July,  August,  September,  and  October,  then  all  would  be 
well."  While  Mrs.  Nightingale  stayed  at  Kynsham,  or  took 
the  children  for  change  of  air  to  the  seaside  or  Tunbridge 
Wells,  Mr.  Nightingale  divided  his  time  between  the  manage- 
ment of  his  property  in  Derbyshire  and  the  search  for  a 
second  home  elsewhere.  Ultimately  he  found  what  he 
wanted  at  Embley  Park  in  the  parish  of  Wellow,  near 
Romsey.  This  estate  was  bought  in  1825,  and  Kynsham 
was  given  up.  Embley  is  on  the  edge  of  the  New  Forest,  and 
the  rich  growth  of  its  woods  and  gardens  is  much  favoured 
by  sun  and  moisture.  Old  oaks  and  beeches,  thickets  of 
flowering  laurel  and  rhododendron,  and  a  profusion  of  flowers 
and  scents,  contrast  with  the  bare  breezy  hills  of  Derbyshire. 
Its  new  owners  had  here  the  variety  they  wished  for,  and  a 
full  scope  for  their  taste.  The  most  praised  of  its  beauties  is 
a  long  road  almost  shut  in  by  masses  of  rhododendron.  One 
of  the  occasional  pleasures  of  Miss  Nightingale's  later  life  in 
London  was  a  drive  in  the  Park,  in  rhododendron-time,  "  to 
remind  her  of  Embley." 


From  her  fifth  year  onwards  Florence  Nightingale  had, 
then,  for  her  homes  Lea  Hurst  in  the  summer  months  and 
Embley  during  the  rest  of  the  year.  The  family  usually  spent 
a  portion  of  the  season  in  London.  The  sisters  led,  it  will  thus 
be  seen,  a  life  mainly  in  the  country,  and  Florence  as  a  child 
became  fond  of  flowers,  birds,  and  beasts.  A  neatly  printed 
manuscript-book  is  preserved,  in  which  she  made  a  catalogue 

io  CHILDHOOD  PT.  i 

of  her  collection  of  flowers,  describing  each  with  analytical 
accuracy,  and  noting  the  particular  spot  at  which  it  was 
picked.  Her  childish  letters  contain  many  references  to 
animal  companions.  She  made  particular  friends  with  the 
nuthatch.  She  had  a  pet  pig,  a  pet  donkey,  a  pet  pony. 
She  was  fond  of  riding,  and  fond  of  dogs.  "  A  small  pet 
animal,"  she  said  many  years  afterwards,  "  is  often  an 
excellent  companion  for  the  sick,  for  long  chronic  cases 
especially."  "  The  more  I  see  of  men,"  wrote  a  cynic,  "  the 
more  I  love  dogs."  Florence  Nightingale,  in  the  same 
piece  from  which  I  have  just  quoted,  drew  a  like  moral 
from  her  experience  of  some  nurses.  "  An  invalid,"  she 
said,  "  in  giving  an  account  of  his  nursing  by  a  nurse  and 
a  dog,  infinitely  preferred  that  of  the  dog.  '  Above  all/  he 
said,  '  it  did  not  talk.'  "  1  There  were  no  babies  in  the 
Nightingale  family  after  the  arrival  of  Florence  herself,  but 
most  of  her  mother's  many  brothers  and  sisters  married  and 
had  families  ;  and  as  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Nightingale's  houses  were 
often  visited  by  these  relations,  there  was  seldom  wanting 
a  succession  of  babies,  and  in  them  and  their  christenings, 
and  teethings,  and  illnesses,  and  lessons,  Florence  took 
that  interest  which  is  often  strong  in  little  girls. 

Sometimes  a  baby  died,  and  her  letters  show  that 
Florence  was  as  much  interested  in  a  death  as  in  a  birth. 
She  rejoiced  in  "  the  little  angels  in  heaven."  One  of  her 
favourite  poems  at  this  period  was  The  Better  Land  of  Mrs. 
Hemans,  which  she  copied  out  for  a  cousin  as  "so  very 
beautiful."  The  earliest  letter  which  I  have  seen,  written 
when  she  was  ten,  strikes  mingled  notes.  She  is  staying 
with  Uncle  Octavius  Smith  at  "  Thames  Bank  "  (a  house 
which  then  adjoined  his  distillery  at  Millbank),  and  writes 
to  her  sister,  who  is  on  a  visit  with  the  maid  to  another  set 
of  cousins  : — 

Give  my  love  to  Clemence,  and  tell  her,  if  you  please,  that 
I  am  not  in  the  room  where  she  established  me,  but  in  a  very 
small  one  ;  instead  of  the  beautiful  view  of  the  Thames,  a  most 
dismal  one  of  the  black  distillery,  and,  whenever  I  open  my 
window,  the  nasty  smell  rushes  in  like  a  torrent.  But  I  like  it 
pretty  well  notwithstanding.  There  is  a  hole  through  the  wall 

1  Notes  on  Nursing,  ed.  1860,  p.  147  n. 


close  to  my  door,  which  communicates  with  the  bath-room, 
which  is  next  the  room  where  Freddy 1  sleeps,  and  he  talks  to  me 
by  there.  Tell  her  also,  if  you  please,  that  I  have  washed  myself 
all  over  and  feet  in  warm  water  since  I  came  every  night.  I 
went  up  into  the  distillery  to  the  very  tip-top  by  ladders  with 
Uncle  Oc  and  Fred  Saturday  night.  We  walked  along  a  great 
pipe.  We  have  had  a  good  deal  of  boating  which  I  like  very  much. 
We  see  three  steam-boats  pass  every  day,  the  Diana,  the  Fly, 

and  the  Endeavour.     My  love  to  all  of  them  except  Miss  W . 

Give  my  love  particularly  to  Hilary.  Your  affecte  and  only 
sister.  Dear  Pop,  I  think  of  you,  pray  let  us  love  one  another 
more  than  we  have  done.  Mama  wishes  it  particularly,  it  is 
the  will  of  God,  and  it  will  comfort  us  in  our  trials  through  life. 

Was  Miss  W an  unsympathetic  governess  ?     Whoever 

she  was,  the  exception  in  her  disfavour  shows  an  unregenerate 
impulse  which  contrasts  naively  with  the  following  good 
resolve  towards  her  sister.  To  a  year  earlier  belongs  a  little 
note-book,  entitled  "  Journal  of  Flo,  Embley."  It  begins 
with  the  reminder,  "  The  Lord  is  with  thee  wherever  thou 
art."  And  then  an  entry  records,  "  Sunday,  I  obliged  to 
sit  still  by  Miss  Christie  till  I  had  the  spirit  of  obedience." 
As  a  child,  and  throughout  all  the  earlier  part  of  her  life, 
Florence  was  much  given  to  dreaming,  and  in  some  intro- 
spective speculations  written  in  1851  she  recalled  the 
pleasures  of  naughtiness.  "  When  I  was  a  child  and  was 
naughty,  it  always  put  an  end  to  my  dreaming  for  the  time. 
I  never  could  tell  why.  Was  it  because  naughtiness  was  a 
more  interesting  state  than  the  little  motives  which  make 
man's  peaceful  civilized  state,  and  occupied  imagination 
for  the  time  ?  "  To  Miss  Christie,  her  first  governess, 
Florence  became  greatly  attached,  and  the  death  of  the 
lady  a  few  years  later  threw  her  into  deep  grief.  She  was 
a  sensitive,  and  a  somewhat  morbid  child ;  and  though 
she  presently  developed  a  lively  sense  of  humour,  to  which 
she  had  the  capacity  of  giving  trenchant  expression,  it 
was  the  humour  of  intellect  rather  than  the  outcome  of  a 

1  Freddy,  who  was  a  bright,  promising  boy,  went  with  Sir  George  Grey 
on  his  journey  of  exploration  in  Australia,  and  there  died  of  starvation. 
In  Rees's  Life  of  Sir  George  Grey  a  note  was  made,  by  Sir  George's  desire, 
as  to  his  having  "  met  the  death  of  a  martyr  in  the  cause  of  science  and  dis- 
covery, led  on  by  personal  friendship  and  affection  for  Sir  George  himself." 



joyous  disposition.  Her  early  letters  contain  little  note  of 
childish  fun.  They  are  for  the  most  part  grave  and  intro- 
spective. She  was  self-absorbed,  and  had  the  shyness  which 
attends  upon  that  habit.  "  My  greatest  ambition,"  she 
wrote  in  some  private  reminiscences  of  her  early  life,  "  was 
not  to  be  remarked.  I  was  always  in  mortal  fear  of  doing 
something  unlike  other  people,  and  I  said,  '  If  I  were  sure 
that  nobody  would  remark  me  I  should  be  quite  happy.'  I 
had  a  morbid  terror  of  not  using  my  knives  and  forks  like 
other  people  when  I  should  come  out.  I  was  afraid  of 
speaking  to  children  because  I  was  sure  I  should  not  please 
them."  Meanwhile,  she  was  perhaps  at  times,  even  as  a 
child,  a  little  "  difficult  "  at  home.  "  Ask  Flo,"  wrote  her 
father  to  his  wife  in  1832,  "  if  she  has  lost  her  intellect.  If 
not,  why  does  she  grumble  at  troubles  which  she  cannot 
remedy  by  grumbling  ?  " 


The  appeal  to  his  daughter's  intellect  was  characteristic 
of  Mr.  Nightingale.  He  was  himself  a  well-informed  man, 
educated  at  Edinburgh,  and  Trinity,  Cambridge  ;  and,  like 
some  others  of  the  Unitarian  circle,  he  held  views  much  in  ad- 
vance of  the  average  opinion  of  his  time  about  the  intellectual 
education  of  women.  The  home  education  of  his  daughters 
was  largely  supervised  by  himself  ;  it  included  a  range  of 
subjects  far  outside  the  curriculum  current  in  "  young  ladies' 
seminaries  "  ;  and  perhaps,  like  Hannah  More's  father,  he 
was  sometimes  "  frightened  at  his  own  success."  Letters 
and  note-books  show,  it  is  true,  that  his  daughters  were  duly 
instructed  in  the  accomplishments  deemed  appropriate  to 
young  ladies.  We  hear  of  them  learning  the  use  of  the 
globes,  writing  books  of  elegant  extracts,  working  footstools, 
and  doing  fancy  work.  They  studied  music,  grammar, 
composition,  modern  languages.  "  We  used  to  read  Tasso 
and  Ariosto  and  Alfieri  with  my  father,"  Florence  said  ;  "  he 
was  a  good  and  always  interested  Italian  scholar,  never 
pedantic,  never  a  tiresome  grammarian,  but  he  spoke 
Italian  like  an  Italian  and  I  took  care  of  the  verbs."  Mr. 
Nightingale  added  constitutional  history,  Latin,  Greek,  and 
mathematics.  By  the  time  Florence  was  sixteen,  he  was 


reading  Homer  with  his  daughters.  Miss  Nightingale  used 
to  say  that  at  Greek  her  sister  was  the  quicker  scholar.  Their 
father  set  them  appointed  tasks  to  prepare.  Parthenope 
would  trust  largely  to  improvisation  or  lucky  shots. 
Florence  was  more  laborious  ;  and  sometimes  would  get  up 
at  four  in  the  morning  to  prepare  the  lesson.  Her  knowledge 
of  Latin  was  of  some  practical  use  in  later  years.  In  con- 
versations with  abbots  and  monks  whom  she  met  during  her 
travels  she  sometimes  found  in  Latin  their  only  common 
tongue.  Among  Florence's  papers  were  preserved  many 
sheets  in  her  father's  handwriting,  containing  the  heads  of 
admirable  outlines  of  the  political  history  of  England  and  of 
some  foreign  states.  Her  own  note-books  show  that  in  her 
teens  she  had  mastered  the  elements  of  Latin  and  Greek. 
She  analysed  the  Tusculan  Disputations.  She  translated 
portions  of  the  Phaedo,  the  Crito  and  the  Apology.  She  had 
studied  Roman,  German,  Italian,  and  Turkish  history.  She  had 
analysed  Dugald  Stewart's  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Mind. 
Her  father  was  in  the  habit,  too,  of  suggesting  themes  on 
which  his  daughters  were  to  write  compositions.  It  was  the 
system  of  the  College  Essay.  "  Florence  has  now  taken  to 
mathematics,"  wrote  her  sister  in  1840,  "  and,  like  every- 
thing she  undertakes,  she  is  deep  in  them  and  working  very 
hard."  The  direction  in  which  Florence  Nightingale  was  to 
exercise  the  faculties  thus  trained  was  as  yet  hidden  in  the 
future  ;  but  to  her  father's  guidance  she  was  indebted  for 
the  mental  grasp  and  power  of  intellectual  concentration 
which  were  to  distinguish  her  work  in  life. 

It  is  a  natural  temptation  of  biographers  to  give  a  formal 
unity  to  their  subject  by  representing  the  child  as  in  all 
things  the  father  of  the  man  ;  to  date  the  vocation  of  their 
hero  or  heroine  very  early  in  life  ;  to  magnify  some  childish 
incident  as  prophetic  of  what  is  to  come  thereafter.  Material 
is  available  for  such  treatment  in  the  case  of  Florence 
Nightingale.  It  has  been  recorded  that  she  used  to  nurse 
and  bandage  the  dolls  which  her  elder  sister  damaged. 
Every  book  about  the  heroine  of  the  Crimea  contains,  too,  a 
tale  of  "  first  aid  to  the  wounded  "  which  Florence  adminis- 
tered to  Cap,  the  shepherd's  collie,  whom  she  found  with  a 
broken  leg  on  the  downs  near  Embley.  "  I  wonder,"  wrote 


her  "  old  Pastor  "  l  to  her  in  1858,  "  whether  you  remember 
how,  twenty-two  years  ago,  you  and  I  together  averted  the 
intended  hanging  of  poor  old  Shepherd  Smithers's  dog,  Cap. 
How  many  times  I  have  told  the  story  since !  I  well 
recollect  the  pleasure  which  the  saving  of  the  life  of  a  poor 
dog  then  gave  to  your  young  mind.  I  was  delighted  to 
witness  it ;  it  was  to  me  not  indeed  an  omen  of  what  you 
were  about  to  do  and  be  (for  of  that  I  never  dreamed),  but 
it  was  an  index  of  that  kind  and  benevolent  disposition,  of 
that  i  Cor.  xiii.  Charity,  which  has  been  at  the  root  of  it." 
And  it  is  certainly  interesting  and  curious,  if  nothing  more, 
that  the  very  earliest  piece  in  the  handwriting  of  Florence 
Nightingale  which  has  been  preserved  should  be  a  medical 
prescription.  It  is  contained  in  a  tiny  book,  about  the  size 
of  a  postage-stamp,  which  the  little  girl  stitched  together  and 
in  which  the  instruction  is  written,  in  very  childish  letters, 
"  16  grains  for  an  old  woman,  n  for  a  young  woman,  and 
7  for  a  child."  But  these  things  are  after  all  but  trifles. 
Florence  Nightingale  is  not  the  only  little  girl  who  has  been 
fond  of  nursing  sick  dolls  or  mending  them  when  broken. 
Other  children  have  tended  wounded  animals  and  had  their 
pill-boxes  and  simples.  Much,  too,  has  been  written  about 
Florence's  kindness  as  a  child  to  her  poorer  neighbours. 
Her  mother,  both  at  Lea  Hurst  and  at  Embley,  sometimes 
occupied  herself  in  good  works.  She  and  her  husband  were 
particularly  interested  in  a  "  cheap  school  "  which  they 
supported  at  their  Derbyshire  home.  "  Large  sums  of 
money  have  been  paid,"  wrote  Mr.  Nightingale  to  his  wife 
in  1832,  "  to  your  schoolmistress  for  many  praiseworthy 
purposes,  who  works  con  amore  in  looking  after  the  whole 
population,  young  and  old."  Florence  took  her  place,  beside 
her  mother,  in  visiting  poor  neighbours,  in  arranging  school- 
treats,  in  giving  village  entertainments.  But  thousands  of 
other  squires'  daughters,  before  and  after  her,  have  done  the 
like.  And  Florence  herself,  as  many  entries  in  her  diaries 
show,  was  not  conscious  of  doing  much,  but  reproachful  of 
herself  for  doing  little.  The  constant  burden  of  her  self- 
examination,  both  at  this  time  and  for  many  years  to  come, 
was  that  she  was  for  ever  "  dreaming  "  and  never  "  doing." 

1  The  Rev.  J.  T.  Giffard. 


She  was  dreaming  because  for  a  long  time  she  did  not  clearly 
feel  or  see  what  her  work  in  life  was  to  be  ;  and  then  for  yet 
another  period  of  time  because,  when  she  knew  what  she 
was  called  to  do,  she  could  not  compass  the  means  to  do  it. 
Her  faculties  were  not  brought  outwards,  but  were  left,  by 
the  conditions  of  her  life,  to  devour  themselves  inwardly. 

The  discovery  of  her  true  vocation  belongs,  then,  to  a 
later  period  of  our  story  ;  and  it  was  not  the  result  of  childish 
fancy,  or  the  accomplishment  of  early  incident ;  it  was  the 
fruit  of  long  and  earnest  study.  What  did  come  to  Florence 
Nightingale  early  in  life — perhaps,  as  one  entry  in  her  auto- 
biographical notes  suggests,  as  early  as  her  sixth  year — was 

\    the  sense  of  a  "  call  "  ;    of  some  appointed  mission  in  life  ; 

*  of  self -dedication  to  the  service  of  God.  "  I  remember  her," 
wrote  Fanny  Allen  in  1857  to  her  niece  Elizabeth  Wedgwood, 
"  as  a  little  girl  of  three  or  four,  then  the  girl  of  sixteen  of 
high  promise.  When  I  look  back  on  every  time  I  saw  her 
after  her  sixteenth  year,  I  see  that  she  was  ripening 
constantly  for  her  work,  and  that  her  mind  was  dwelling  on 
the  painful  differences  of  man  and  man  in  this  life,  and  on  the 
traps  that  a  luxurious  life  laid  for  the  affluent.  A  conversa- 
tion on  this  subject  between  the  father  and  daughter  made 
me  laugh  at  the  time,  the  contrast  was  so  striking  ;  but  now, 
as  I  remember  it,  it  was  the  Divine  Spirit  breathing  in  her."  l 
In  an  autobiographical  fragment  written  in  1867  Florence 
mentions  as  one  of  the  crises  of  her  inner  life  that  "  God 
called  her  to  His  service  "  on  February  7,  1837,  at  Embley  ; 
and  there  are  later  notes  which  still  fix  that  day  as  the  dawn 
of  her  true  life.  But  as  yet  she  knew  not  whither  the  Spirit 
was  to  lead.  For  three  months,  indeed,  as  she  notes  in 
another  passage  of  retrospect,  she  "  worked  very  hard  among 
the  poor  people  "  under  "  a  strong  feeling  of  religion." 


Presently,  however,  a  new  direction  was  given  to  her 
thoughts  and  interests.  She  was  now  seventeen,  her  sister 
eighteen.  Their  home  education  had  been  far  .advanced, 
and  might  seem  to  require  only  such  "  finishing  "  as  masters 
and  society  in  France  and  Italy  could  supply.  Mr.  Nightin- 

1  A  Century  of  Family  Letters,  vol.  ii.  p.  174. 

i6  FOREIGN  TOUR:    1837-9  PT.  i 

gale  had,  moreover,  decided  to  carry  out  extensive  altera- 
tions at  Embley.  With  his  wife  and  daughters,  he  crossed 
from  Southampton  to  Havre  on  September  8,  1837,  and  they 
did  not  return  to  England  till  April  6,  1839.  Those  were 
days  of  leisurely  travel,  such  as  Ruskin  describes,  in  which 
"  distance  could  not  be  vanquished  without  toil,  but  in 
which  that  toil  was  rewarded,  partly  by  the  power  of  de- 
liberate survey  of  the  countries  through  which  the  journey 
lay,  and  partly  by  the  happiness  of  the  evening  hours,  when 
from  the  top  of  the  last  hill  he  had  surmounted,  the  traveller 
beheld  the  quiet  village  where  he  was  to  rest,  scattered  among 
the  meadows  beside  its  valley  stream  ;  or,  from  the  long- 
hoped-for  turn  in  the  dusty  perspective  of  the  causeway, 
saw,  for  the  first  time,  the  towers  of  some  famed  city,  faint 
in  the  rays  of  sunset — hours  of  peaceful  and  thoughtful 
pleasure,  for  which  the  rush  of  the  arrival  in  the  railway 
station  is  perhaps  not  always,  or  to  all  men,  an  equivalent." 
There  were  many  such  hours  during  the  journeys  which  the 
Nightingales  took  with  a  vetturino  through  France  and  Italy  ; 
and  Florence,  writing  at  a  later  date,  when  all  her  life  was 
fixed  on  doing,  noted  that  on  this  tour  there  was  "  too  much 
time  for  dreaming."  Yet  it  is  clear  from  her  diaries  that  she 
entered  heartily,  and  with  a  wider  range  of  interest  than 
some  English  travellers  show,  into  the  life  of  foreign  society 
and  sight-seeing.  A  love  of  statistical  method  which  became 
one  of  her  most  marked  characteristics  may  already  be  seen 
in  an  itinerary  which  she  compiled  ;  noting,  in  its  several 
columns,  the  number  of  leagues  from  place  to  place,  with 
the  day  and  the  hour  both  of  arrival  and  of  departure.  They 
went  leisurely  through  France,  visiting,  besides  many  other 
places,  Chartres,  Blois,  Tours,  Nantes,  Bordeaux,  Biarritz, 
Carcassonne,  Nimes,  Avignon,  and  Toulon,  and  then  going  by 
the  Riviera  to  Nice.  There  they  stayed  for  nearly  a  month 
(Dec.  i837~Jan.  1838).  A  month  was  next  spent  at  Genoa, 
and  two  months  were  given  to  Florence.  The  late  spring 
and  summer  were  devoted  to  travel  in  the  cities  of  Northern 
Italy,  among  the  lakes,  and  in  Switzerland.  They  spent  the 
month  of  September  in  Geneva,  and  reached  Paris  on 
October  8,  1838.  Miss  Nightingale  preserved  her  diary  of 
the  greater  part  of  the  tour,  and  it  shows  her  keenly  interested 


alike  in  scenery  and  in  works  of  art.  It  contains  also,  what 
records  of  sentimental  pilgrimages  often  lack,  an  admixture 
of  notes  and  statistics  upon  the  laws,  the  land  systems,  the 
social  conditions  and  benevolent  institutions  of  the  several 
states  or  cantons.  Her  interest  in  the  politics  of  the  day  was 
keen  wherever  she  was  ;  and  the  society  of  many  refugees 
into  which  she  was  thrown  at  Geneva  gave  her  a  particularly 
ardent  sympathy  with  the  cause  of  Italian  freedom.  The 
diary  contains  many  biographical  notes  upon  Italian  patriots, 
whose  adventures  she  heard  related  by  their  own  lips.  "  A 
stirring  day,"  she  wrote  on  September  12  (1838),  "  the  most 
stirring  which  we  have  ever  lived."  It  was  the  day  on  which 
the  news  reached  Geneva  that  the  Emperor  of  Austria  had 
declared  an  amnesty  in  Italy.  The  Nightingales  attended 
an  evening  party  at  which  the  Italian  refugees  assembled 
and  the  Imperial  decree  was  read  out  amidst  loud  jubilation  ; 
which,  however,  was  afterwards  abated  when  it  turned 
out  that  the  "  general  amnesty  "  contained  many  conditions 
and  some  exceptions.  The  Nightingales  had  the  entree  to 
all  the  learned  society  of  Geneva.  Florence  records  an 
evening  spent  with  M.  de  Candolle,  the  famous  botanist ; 
and  the  diary  gives  many  glimpses  of  Sismondi,  the  historian, 
who  was  then  living  in  his  native  city.  He  escorted  the 
Nightingale  party  up  the  Saleve.  They  made  that  not  very 
formidable  ascent  first  on  donkeys  and  then  "  in  a  sledge 
covered  with  straw  and  drawn  by  four  oxen."  Florence  was 
present  on  another  occasion  when  "  all  the  company  gathered 
round  Sismondi  who,  sitting  on  a  table,  gave  us  a  lecture  on 
Florentine  history."  The  conscientious  Florence  made  a 
full  note  in  her  diary  of  the  great  man's  discourse.  "  All 
Sismondi' s  political  economy,"  she  also  noted,  "  seems  to  be 
founded  on  the  overflowing  kindness  of  his  heart.  He  gives 
to  old  beggars  on  principle,  to  young  from  habit.  At 
Pescia  he  had  300  beggars  at  his  door  on  one  morning.  He 
feeds  the  mice  in  his  room  while  he  is  writing  his  histories." 
Presently  there  was  a  new  excitement  in  Geneva.  "  What  a 
stirring  time  we  live  in,"  Florence  wrote  on  September  18  ; 
"  one  day  to  decide  the  fate  of  the  Italians,  to-morrow  to 
decide  the  fate  of  Switzerland."  "  To-morrow  "  was  the 
day  fixed  for  the  meeting  of  the  Conseil  Representatif 
VOL.  i  c 


which  was  to  take  into  consideration  the  demand  of  Louis 
Philippe  for  the  expulsion  of  Louis  Napoleon,  the  future 
Emperor.  Many  pages  of  Miss  Nightingale's  diary  are  given 
up  to  this  affair.  She  analysed  all  the  pros  and  cons,  and 
recorded  day  by  day  the  course  of  the  debate.  Sismondi 
thought  that  the  refugee  ought  to  be  surrendered — on 
principle  because  he  was  a  pretender,  in  expediency  because 
Geneva  would  be  unable  to  withstand  a  French  assault.  He 
"  spoke  for  an  hour  "  in  this  sense.  The  Genevois  radicals, 
on  the  other  hand,  while  entertaining  no  great  love  for  the 
pretender,  thought  that,  cost  what  it  might,  "  the  sacred 
right  of  asylum  "  should  be  maintained.  And  so  the  debate 
continued.  The  French  Government  began  to  move  troops 
from  Lyons ;  the  Genevois,  to  throw  up  fortifications. 
Whereupon  Mr.  Nightingale,  like  many  other  English  visitors, 
thought  it  time  to  take  his  family  across  the  frontier.  Miss 
Nightingale's  diary  written  en  route  to  Paris  shows  her 
excitement  to  obtain  news  of  the  crisis.  When  she  learnt 
that  it  had  been  solved  by  Louis  Napoleon  being  given  a 
passport  for  England,  she  did  not  see  that  Louis  Philippe 
had  gained  very  much  ;  the  pretender  would  be  nearer,  and 
not  less  dangerous,  in  London  than  in  Geneva — a  very  just 
prediction.  Not  every  girl  of  eighteen,  when  taking  her 
first  tour  abroad,  shows  so  lively  an  interest  in  political 

Politics  and  social  observations  mingle  in  the  diary  with 
artistic  and  architectural  notes.  The  city  which  seems  most 
to  have  appealed  to  her  imagination  was  not  Florence ; 
though  she  said  that  she  "  would  not  have  missed  it  for 
anything/'  and,  curiously,  her  sojourn  in  her  birthplace  was 
the  occasion  of  a  characteristic  incident.  An  English  lady, 
who  afterwards  became  Princess  Reuss  Kostritz,  was  staying 
in  the  same  lodgings  and  fell  ill,  and  Florence  Nightingale 
volunteered  to  nurse  her.  But  the  city  which  she  most 
admired  was  Genoa  La  Superba.  She  notes  indeed  the 
excessive  indolence  of  the  nobles  and  excessive  poverty  of 
the  people,  but  the  palaces  "  realized  an  Arabian  Nights 
story  "  for  her.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Nightingale  had  many  friends 
and  brought  many  introductions.  In  the  various  towns 
where  they  stayed  they  mixed  in  the  best  society,  and  their 

CH.  i  "  MUSIC-MAD "  19 

daughters  were  thrown  into  a  lively  round  of  picnics,  concerts, 
soirees,  dancing  : 

Balls  and  masks  begun  at  midnight,  burning  ever  to  mid-day, 
When  they  made  up  fresh  adventures  for  the  morrow — 

There  were  Court  balls  at  which  Grand  Dukes  were  "  exceed- 
ingly polite  "  to  Florence  Nightingale  and  her  sister.  They 
went  to  an  evening  Court  at  Florence,  and  found  "  everyone 
most  courteous  and  agreeable."  There  was  a  ball  at  the 
Casino  in  Genoa,  at  which,  writes  Florence  in  her  diary, 
"  my  partner  and  I  made  an  embrouillement,  and  a  military 
officer  came  up  with  a  very  angry  face  to  challenge  me  for 
having  refused  him  and  then  not  dancing."  But  the  music 
was  not  all  to  the  tune  of  "A  Toccata  of  Galuppi's."  What 
gave  Florence  the  greatest  pleasure  on  this  tour  was  the 
Italian  opera.  In  those  days  the  reigning  singers  were  Grisi, 
Lablache,  Rubini,  and  Tamburini.  Florence  Nightingale 
heard  them  all.  Her  Italian  diary  is  nowhere  so  elaborate 
as  in  descriptions  of  the  operas  and  in  notes  on  the  per- 
formers. She  kept  a  separate  book  in  which  she  wrote 
tabulated  details  of  all  the  performances.  "  I  should  like  to 
go  every  night,"  she  said  in  her  diary ;  and  for  some  time 
after  her  return  from  the  Continent  she  was,  as  she  wrote 
to  Miss  Clarke,  "  music-mad."  She  took  music-lessons  at 
Florence,  and  in  London  studied  under  German  and  Italian 
masters.  She  played  and  sang.  It  was  as  yet  uncertain 
whether  "  the  call  " — to  what,  as  yet  also  unknown — might 
not  be  drowned  in  the  tastes,  interests,  and  pursuits  which 
fill  the  life  of  other  young  ladies  in  her  position. 


The  fascination  of  social  life  must  have  been  brought 
vividly  before  her  during  the  winter  (1838-39)  which  they 
spent  in  Paris,  in  apartments  in  the  Place  Vendome  (No.  22) . 
She  was  now  introduced  into  the  brilliant  circle  of  the  last 
of  the  salons.  Mary  Clarke,  afterwards  Madame  Mohl,  was 
by  descent  half  Irish,  half  Scottish ;  by  education  and 
residence,  almost  wholly  French.  "  A  charming  mixture," 
said  Ampere  of  her,  "  of  French  vivacity  and  English  origin- 


PT.  I 

ality."  Full  at  once  of  esprit  and  of  espieglerie,  well  read 
and  artistic  yet  wholly  devoid  of  pedantry,  without  regular 
beauty  of  feature,  but  alert  and  piquante,  Mary  Clarke  had 
gathered  round  her  what  Ticknor  in  1837  nacl  found  the  most 
intellectual  circle  in  Paris.  For  seven  years  she  and  her 
mother  lived  in  apartments  in  the  Abbaye-au-Bois,  adjoin- 
ing those  of  Madame  Recamier,  and  Mary  was  a  daily  visitor 
to  the  famous  salon  during  the  reign  of  Chateaubriand, 
whose  closing  years  she  did  much  to  brighten  and  amuse. 
At  the  time  when  the  Nightingales  arrived  in  Paris,  Mrs.  and 
Miss  Clarke  had  left  the  Abbaye-au-Bois  and  established 
themselves  in  those  apartments  in  the  Rue  du  Bac  which 
for  nearly  forty  years  were  a  haunt  of  all  that  was  brilliant 
in  the  intellectual  life  of  Paris.  Mary  Clarke  took  most 
affectionately  to  the  Nightingale  family,  who,  with  some 
of  their  connections,  remained  for  long  years  among  her 
closest  friends.  She  used  to  pay  a  yearly  visit  to  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Nightingale,  either  at  Embley  or  at  Lea  Hurst, 
generally  staying  three  weeks  or  a  month ;  and  to  her 
many  of  Florence's  most  interesting  letters  were,  as  we 
shall  find,  addressed.  To  her  other  and  more  superficial 
qualities,  Mary  Clarke  added  great  warmth  of  lasting  affection 
for  her  intimate  friends,  and  her  sympathetic  kindness  to  the 
Nightingale  circle  was  unfailing.  The  attraction  of  Paris  to 
Florence  lay  principally  in  its  hospitals  and  nursing  sister- 
hoods, but  partly  also  in  that  it  was  the  home  of  "  Clarkey," 
as  they  called  her.  And  it  was  the  same  with  other  members 
of  the  family.  There  is  a  letter  from  Lady  Verney  to  Clarkey 
which  describes  how  some  one  asked  Mr.  Nightingale,  "  Are 
you  going  to  Paris  ?  "  "  Oh,  no,"  he  replied  ;  "  Madame 
Mohl  is  ill."  "  Then  does  Paris  mean  Madame  Mohl  ?  " 
"  Yes,  certainly,"  he  replied  gravely.  During  the  winter  of 
1838-39  Miss  Clarke,  writes  Lady  Verney,  was  "  exceedingly 
kind  to  Florence  and  me,  two  young  girls  full  of  all  kinds  of 
interests,  which  she  took  the  greatest  pains  to  help.  She 
made  us  acquainted  with  all  her  friends,  many  and  notable, 
among  them  Madame  Recamier.  I  know  now,  better  than 
then,  what  her  influence  must  have  been  thus  to  introduce 
an  English  family  (two  of  them  girls  who,  if  French,  would 
not  have  appeared  in  society)  into  that  jealously  guarded 


sanctuary,  the  most  exclusive  aristocratic  and  literary  salon 
in  Paris.  We  were  asked,  even,  to  the  reading  by  Chateau- 
briand, at  the  Abbaye-au-Bois,  of  his  Memoir es  d'Outre- 
Tombe,  which  he  could  not  wait  to  put  forth,  as  he  had 
intended  when  writing  them,  until  after  his  death — desiring, 
it  was  said,  to  discount  the  praises  which  he  expected,  but 
hardly  received.  This  hearing  was  a  favour  eagerly  sought 
for  by  the  cream  of  the  cream  of  Paris  society  at  that  time."  l 
In  Miss  Clarke's  own  apartments,  the  Nightingales  met 
many  distinguished  men.  The  intimates  who  were  always 
there,  and  who  assisted  their  hostess  in  making  the  tea,  were 
MM.  Fauriel  and  Mohl — Claude  Fauriel,  versed  in  mediaeval 
and  Provengal  lore,  a  man  exceedingly  handsome,  who  had 
captivated  Madame  de  Stael  and  other  ladies  besides  Mary 
Clarke  in  his  friendships  ;  and  Julius  Mohl,  one  of  the 
first  Orientalists  in  Europe,  a  more  ardent  lover  whom, 
after  a  probation  of  eighteen  years,  Miss  Clarke  married  in 
1847.  M.  Mohl  was  once  asked  by  Queen  Victoria  why, 
loving  Germany  so  much,  he  had  given  up  his  native  country 
for  France.  "  Ma  foi,  madame,"  he  replied,  "  j'etais 
amoureux."  With  M.  Mohl,  no  less  than  with  his  wife, 
Florence  Nightingale  was  on  terms  of  affectionate  friendship. 
Among  the  frequent  visitors  whom  she  and  her  sister  met  at 
Miss  Clarke's  were  Madame  Tastu  (the  poetess),  itlie  de 
Beaumont  (the  geologist),  Roulin  (the  traveller  and  natural- 
ist), Cousin,  Mignet,  Guizot,  Tocqueville,  Barthelemy  St. 
Hilaire,  and  Thiers.  The  last-named  was  one  of  Miss  Clarke's 
earliest  admirers  ;  and  many  years  later,  after  the  Franco- 
German  war,  when  Thiers  was  at  the  head  of  affairs,  Lady 
Verney  heard  M.  Mohl  say  to  his  wife,  "  Madame,  why  did 
you  not  marry  M.  Thiers  instead  of  me,  for  now  you  would 
have  been  Queen  of  France  ?  " 

In  such  circles  as  that  which  gathered  around  Miss 
Clarke,  Florence  Nightingale  was  well  qualified  to  hold  her 
own  and  even  to  play  a  brilliant  part.  Her  life  of  gaiety 
on  the  Riviera  and  in  Italy  must  have  rubbed  away  much  of 
the  shyness  from  which  she  had  suffered.  If  not  beautiful, 
she  was  elegant  and  distinguished.  She  was  both  widely 
and  deeply  read.  She  had  many  and  varied  interests.  She 

1  Julius  and  Mary  Mohl,  p.  29. 

22  "TO  SHINE  IN  SOCIETY"  PT.  i 

had  powers  of  expression,  in  which  clearness  was  not  un- 
mixed with  a  note  of  humorous  subacidity.  These  are 
social  advantages,  and  she  was  not  without  the  inclination 
to  use  them.  She  chose  in  the  end  another  path — a  path 
which  was  beset  by  many  obstacles  of  circumstance ;  but 
there  were  obstacles  in  herself  also,  and  one  of  the  last 
"  temptations  "  to  be  overcome,  before  she  was  free  to 
interpret  her  call  and  to  act  upon  it,  was  (as  she  wrote  in 
many  a  page  of  confession  and  self-examination)  "  the  desire 
to  shine  in  society." 



Her  passionate,  ideal  nature  demanded  an  epic  life :  what  were  many- 
volumed  romances  of  chivalry  a'nd  the  social  conquests  of  a  brilliant  girl 
to  her  ?  Her  flame  quickly  burned  up  that  light  fuel ;  and,  fed  from 
within,  soared  after  some  illimitable  satisfaction,  some  object  which 
would  never  justify  weariness,  which  would  reconcile  self  -  despair 
with  the  rapturous  consciousness  of  life  beyond  self. — GEORGE  ELIOT  : 

THE  home  life  to  which  Florence  Nightingale  returned  in 
April  1839  was  ricn  in  possibilities  of  social  pleasure,  and 
might  have  seemed  to  promise  every  happiness.  She  was 
well  fitted  by  nature  and  by  education  to  be  an  ornament 
of  any  country  house  ;  to  shine  in  any  cultivated  society  ; 
to  become  the  wife,  as  many  of  her  best  friends  hoped  and 
believed,  of  some  good  and  clever  man.  But  Florence,  as 
she  passed  from  childhood  to  womanhood,  came  to  form 
other  plans.  Her  life,  as  she  ultimately  shaped  it,  her 
example,  which  circumstances  were  destined  to  render  far- 
shining,  have  been  potent  factors  in  opening  new  avenues 
for  women  in  the  modern  world.  Thousands  of  women  in 
these  days  are,  in  consequence  of  Florence  Nightingale's 
career,  born  free ;  but  it  was  at  a  great  price,  and  after 
long  and  weary  struggles,  that  she  herself  attained  such 
freedom.  During  the  years  with  which,  in  this  Part,  we 
shall  be  concerned,  she  lived  in  some  sort  the  life  of  a 
caged  bird. 

The  cage,  however,  was  pleasantly  gilded.     Florence  was 
'  not  always  insensible  of  the  gilding  ;   there  were  times  when 



she  was  tempted  to  chafe  no  longer  at  its  bars,  and  to  accept 
a  restricted  life  within  the  conventional  lines.  I  do  not 
propose  to  detail,  as  might  be  done  from  her  letters,  diaries, 
and  other  materials,  the  precise  succession  of  her  goings 
and  comings,  her  visits,  and  her  home  pursuits.  She  her- 
self gives  an  excellent  reason  in  one  of  her  diaries.  "  Our 
movements  are  so  regular,"  she  said ;  one  year  was  very 
like  another.  The  setting  of  Florence  Nightingale's  life 
during  this  period  was  such  as  many  women  have  enjoyed, 
and  many  others  have  envied.  The  lines  of  the  Nightingale 
family  were  laid  in  pleasant  places.  Their  summer  months 
were  spent,  as  in  preceding  years,  at  Lea  Hurst.  A  portion 
of  the  season  was  spent  in  London,  and  the  rest  of  the  year 
at  Embley.  On  their  return  from  the  Continent  in  1839, 
the  Nightingales  spent  some  weeks  in  London,  when  the 
two  girls  were  presented  at  Court,  and  a  letter  to  Miss 
Clarke  shows  Florence  absorbed  in  music,  but  not  so  com- 
pletely as  to  conquer  a  lively  interest  in  the  politics  of  the 
Bedchamber  Plot : — 

CARLTON  HOTEL,  REGENT  STREET,  June  i  [1839].  •  •  •  We 
are  enjoying  ourselves  much,  for  the  Nicholsons,  our  cousins, 
came  up  to  town  the  day  after  we  did,  and  are  living  in  the 
same  hotel  with  us  in  Regent  Street,  the  best  situation  in 
London,  I  think,  but  some  people  call  it  too  noisy.  As  Marianne 
Nicholson  is  as  music-mad  as  I  am,  we  are  revelling  in  music  all 
day  long.  Schulz,  who  is  a  splendid  player,  and  Crivelli,  her 
singing  master,  give  us  lessons,  and  the  unfortunate  piano  has 
been  strummed  out  of  tune  in  a  week,  not  having  even  its  natural 
rest  at  nights,  as  there  are  other  masters  as  well.  We  went 
to  Pauline  Garcia's  debut  at  the  opera  in  Otello.  She  was 
exceedingly  nervous  and  trembled  all  over,  but  her  great  im- 
provement towards  the  end  promised  well.  Her  lower  notes 
are  very  fine  indeed,  and  two  shakes  she  made  low  down,  though 
too  much  like  instrumental  to  be  agreeable,  were  very  extra- 
ordinary. Her  voice,  however,  is  excessively  unequal,  and 
sometimes  her  singing  is  quite  commonplace.  She  makes  too 
much  of  her  execution,  which  is  very  uneven.  It  is  very  easy  to 
say  that  she  will  be  another  Malibran,  but  if  they  were  side  by 
side  the  difference  would  be  seen ;  so  say  wiser  judges  than  we. 
Even  Grisi  is  quite  superior  to  her  in  Desdemona,  although 
P.  Garcia's  voice  is  the  most  powerful,  but  then  P.  Garcia  was 
excessively  frightened.  We  have  heard  her  sing  a  duet  with 
Persiani  in  which  both  were  perfect,  and  I  heard  Dohler  for  the 


first  time  at  the  same  concert.  I  was  nowise  disappointed, 
although  I  had  heard  so  much  of  him  at  Paris,  his  execution  is 
extraordinary,  but  I  think  one  would  soon  grow  tired  of  it,  for 
both  his  music  and  his  style  are  very  inferior  to  Thalberg's. 
Have  you  heard  Batta  on  the  violoncello  at  Paris  ?  His  playing 
approaches  more  nearly  to  the  human  voice  than  anything  I 
ever  heard.  We  are  going  to  hear  charming  Persiani  to-night  in 
the  Lucia  di  Lammermoor.  Tamburini,  the  most  good-natured 
of  mortals,  has  volunteered  to  come  and  sing  two  or  three  hours 
with  my  cousin  Marianne  every  season,  whenever  she  thinks 
herself  sufficiently  advanced.  We  are  going  to  hear  him  at  a 
private  concert  on  Monday. 

Now  there  has  been  enough  and  too  much  of  musical  news, 
but  political  news  is  scarce.  .  .  .  London  was  in  a  perfect  whirl- 
wind of  excitement  for  the  few  days  that  the  Melbourne  ministry 
was  out,  but  that  is  stale  already.  Our  little  Queen,  who  was 
sadly  unpopular  when  we  first  came  to  England,  recovered  much 
of  her  former  favour  with  the  Whig  party  after  the  firmness  she 
showed  in  this  affair.  She  was  cheered  and  called  forward  at  the 
opera,  which  had  not  been  done  for  months,  and  again  returning 
from  chapel.  And  the  birthday  drawing-room  was  overflowing, 
whereas  at  the  two  first  she  gave  this  season,  there  were  hardly 
forty  people  !  The  story  of  this  last  fracas  is  that  on  Tuesday, 
the  day  of  Lord  Melbourne's  resignation,  the  Queen  dined  upstairs 
with  her  mother,  Baroness  Lehzen,  and  Lady  F.  Hastings,  which 
she  had  never  done  since  her  accession,  and  it  is  supposed  that 
the  amende  honorable  was  then  made  to  Lady  Flora,  and  that 
in  this  partie  carree  was  also  arranged  the  course  which  was  to 
be  pursued  with  Sir  Robert  Peel.  The  poor  little  Queen  was 
seen  in  tears  by  several  people  who  told  us  in  the  course  of  the 
three  days,  and  struggled  for  her  Ladies,  as  you  see,  manfully. 
However  matters  may  turn  out  now,  it  is  said  that  she  has  taken 
so  tremendous  a  dislike  to  Sir  R.  Peel  in  this  affair,  that  she  will 
never  send  for  him  again. 

Since  that,  the  House  has  been  adjourned  for  a  fortnight 
and  only  met  last  Monday  when  the  Speaker  was  elected, 
Abercromby  going  up  to  the  House  of  Peers.  We  are  rejoicing 
in  the  election  of  Shaw  Lefevre,  by  a  majority  of  eighteen ;  rather 
less  than  was  expected,  however,  Spring  Rice  arriving  half  an  hour 
too  late  to  vote,  which  has  made  rather  a  commotion.  Shaw 
Lefevre  is  a  great  friend  of  ours,  and  a  very  agreeable  man,  which 
is  his  chief  qualification  for  the  chair.  Macaulay  is  not  likely 
to  come  into  the  Ministry ;  Lord  Melbourne  says  that  it  is  im- 
possible to  get  on  with  a  man  who  talks  so  fast.  So  he  is  now 
writing  history,  and  saying  that  it  is  the  only  thing  worth  doing, 
except,  however,  standing  for  Edinburgh  in  Abercromby's  room 


against  Crawford.     Macaulay  has  made  an  admirable  speech  in 
favour  of  ballot  there. 

The  Queen  is  vibrating  between  popularity  and  unpopularity, 
and  it  is  not  yet  known  which  way  the  scale  will  turn  between 
the  two  parties;  she  was  very  much  applauded,  and  Lord 
Melbourne  too,  at  Ascot  yesterday.  He  is  likely  to  keep  the 
upper  hand,  as  the  Tories  have  not  such  a  man  as  Lord  John 
Russell  in  all  their  party,  and  the  nine  obstreperous  Radicals 
have  had  a  sop  and  give  in  their  adhesion  for  the  present.  Papa 
is  shocked  to  hear  that  M.  Guizot  has  declared  himself  so  anti- 
English.  .  .  . 

We  always  talk  of  you  and  all  that  you  did  for  us  at  Paris. 
I  heard  yesterday  that  Gonfalonieri  was  coming  to  London  in  a 
month.  Is  he  at  Paris  now  ?  I  have  just  been  reading  the 
account  of  M.  Mignet's  eloge  of  Talleyrand.  I  hope  you  were 
there,  for  it  must  have  been  very  interesting,  but  did  not  he  make 
rather  an  extraordinary  defence  of  Talleyrand's  political  ter- 
giversation, and  of  his  conduct  while  the  Allies  were  at  Paris? 
extraordinary  to  our  ideas  of  political  integrity.  We  met 
"  ubiquity  "  Young  and  Mr.  Babbage  yesterday  at  dinner  at  the 
E.  Strutts',  who  told  all  sorts  of  droll  stories  about  Lord 
Brougham,  who  seems  to  have  fairly  lost  his  wits.  He  had  Lord 
Duncannon  to  dine  with  him  the  other  day,  which  is  new,  he 
having  formerly  stipulated  when  he  went  out  to  dinner  that  he 
should  see  none  of  his  former  colleagues.  He  sends  his  carriage 
to  stand  before  Lord  Denman's  house  for  hours  while  he  goes 
and  walks  in  the  Park,  or  even  while  he  is  out  of  town,  to  give  the 
idea  that  they  are  very  intimate.  .  .  . 

In  another  letter  to  Miss  Clarke  (Sept.  18),  some  further 
gossip  is  given.  Miss  Nightingale  was  on  her  way  back  to 
London  from  Lea  Hurst,  and  had  broken  the  journey  at 
Nottingham  : — 

The  next  day  we  went  up  to  town  by  rail  in  six  and  a  half  hours, 
notwithstanding  that  the  engine  was  twice  out  of  order  and 
stopped  us.  We  had  very  agreeable  company  on  the  road,  a 
neighbour  of  ours  and  equerry  to  the  Queen,1  who  was  full  of  her 
virtues  and  condescensions.  How  much  pleasanter  it  is  travelling 
by  these  public  conveyances  than  in  one's  own  stupid  carriage. 
He  said  that  Lord  Melbourne  called  the  Queen's  favourite  terrier 
a  frightful  little  beast,  and  often  contradicted  her  flat,  all  which 
she  takes  in  good  part,  and  lets  him  go  to  sleep  after  dinner, 

1  General  Sir  Frederick  Stovin,  G.C.B.  He  was  groom-in-waiting  to 
Queen  Victoria  from  1837  to  1860. 


taking  care  that  he  shall  not  be  waked.1  She  reads  all  the 
newspapers  and  all  the  vilifying  abuse  which  the  Tories  give  her, 
and  makes  up  her  mind  that  a  queen  must  be  abused,  and  hates 
them  cordially. 


The  Nightingales  had  taken  up  their  residence  at 
Embley  in  September  1839,  and  remained  there,  in  accord- 
ance with  their  wont,  till  the  early  summer  following.  The 
charm  of  the  place  is  vividly  described  in  a  letter  from 
Florence's  sister  to  her  cousin,  Miss  Hilary  Bonham  Carter: — 

MY  LOVE — It  is  so  beautiful  in  this  world  !  so  very  beautiful, 
you  really  cannot  fancy  anything  so  near  approaching  to  Eden 
or  fairy-land,  or  il  paradiso  terrestre  as  depicted  in  the  25th 
Canto,  stanza  40  something  ;  so  very,  very  lovely  that  we  cannot 
resist  a  very  strong  desire  that  you  should  come  down  and  see 
it.  My  dear,  I  assure  you  we  are  worth  seeing.  I  never,  though 
blest  with  many  fair  visions  (both  in  my  sleeping  and  my  waking 
hours),  conceived  anything  so  exquisite  as  to-day  lying  among 
the  flowers,  such  smells  and  such  sounds  hovering  round  me  ! 
Flo  reading  and  talking  so  that  my  immortal  profited  too,  and 
she  comforted  me  when  I  said  I  must  have  much  of  the  beast  in 
me  to  be  so  very  happy  in  the  sunshine  and  the  flowers,  by  suggest- 
ing that  God  gave  us  His  blessings  to  enjoy  them.  So  I  am 
comforted,  and  set  to  work  to  enjoy  with  all  my  might,  and 
succeed  a  merveille.  Still  the  garden  is  big,  there  are  many 
clumps  of  rhododendrons  and  azaleas,  and  showers  of  rosebuds, 
and  I  cannot  be  all  round  them  at  once ;  so  we  want  you  to 
come  and  help,  not  so  much  for  your  pleasure  as  to  relieve  the 
weight  of  responsibility,  you  see.  .  .  .  My  love,  I  am  writing 
perched  on  a  chair  on  the  grass,  nightingales  all  round,  blue  sky 
above  (such  long  shadows  sleeping  on  the  lawn),  and  June  smells 
about  me.  Will  you  not  come  ?  The  rhododendrons  are  early 
this  year,  and  will  be  much  passed  in  another  ten  days.  Will 
you  not  come  ?  If  you  ask  learned  men  they  will  tell  you 
June  at  Embley  is  a  poetry  ready  made ;  and  the  first  thing  I 
shall  do  when  I  get  to  heaven  (you'd  better  set  about  getting 
there  Miss  Pop  directly,  you're  a  very  long  way  off  at  these 

1  Many  stories  of  Lord  Melbourne  and  the  "  dull  dog  "  are  now  ac- 
cessible in  the  Queen's  own  diaries,  but  he  made  friends  with  the  pets  in 
the  end.  The  Queen  may  have  forbidden  others  to  wake  her  Minister  ; 
but  she  herself  objected  sometimes,  though  with  a  pretty  playfulness, 
to  his  snoring.  See  The  Girlhood  of  Queen  Victoria,  vol.  ii.  p.  240. 


presents),  where  I  expect  to  have  the  gift  of  language,  is  to 
celebrate  the  pomps  and  beauties  of  the  garden  in  this  wicked 
world,  than  which  I  never  wish  for  a  better. 

Florence  and  her  sister  loved  each  other,  but  their 
characters  were  widely  different,  as  we  shall  hear,  and  their 
love  at  this  time  was  not  that  of  perfect  sympathy,  but  rather 
of  wistful  admiration  on  the  one  side,  and  half-pitying  fond- 
ness on  the  other.  Parthenope  looked  upon  Florence  as  upon 
some  strange  being  in  another  world,  whose  happiness  she 
passionately  longed  to  see,  and  whose  rejection  of  it  she  could 
but  dimly  understand.  Florence,  on  her  side,  regarded  her 
elder  sister's  contentment  in  the  beauties  of  art  and  nature, 
and  in  the  world  as  she  found  it,  with  the  tender  pity  which 
one  may  feel  for  a  happy  child.  "  It  would  be  an  ill  return 
for  all  her  affection,"  wrote  Florence  to  one  of  her  aunts, 
"  to  drag  down  my  White  Swan  from  her  cool,  fresh,  blue 
sea  of  art  into  our  baby  chicken-yard  of  struggling,  scratting  l 
life.  How  cruel  it  would  be,  as  she  is  rocked  to  rest  there 
on  her  dreamy  waves,  for  anybody  to  waken  her/'  The 
difference  in  temperament  between  the  sisters  comes  out 
very  clearly  in  their  several  descriptions  of  Embley.  Flor- 
ence was  sensible  of  its  beauties,  but  they  came  to  her  with 
thoughts  of  a  better  world  beyond,  or  with  echoes  from 
the  still  sad  music  of  humanity  in  the  world  that  now  is. 
"  I  should  have  so  liked  you  to  see  Embley  in  the  summer," 
she  wrote,2  "  for  everything  is  such  a  blaze  of  beauty.  I 
had  such  a  lovely  walk  yesterday  before  breakfast.  The 
voice  of  the  birds  is  like  the  angels  calling  me  with  their 
songs,  and  the  fleecy  clouds  look  like  the  white  walls  of 
our  Home.  Nothing  makes  my  heart  thrill  like  the  voice 
of  the  birds  ;  but  the  living  chorus  so  seldom  finds  a  second 
voice  in  the  starved  and  earthly  soul,  which,  like  the  withered 
arm,  cannot  stretch  forth  its  hand  till  Christ  bids  it."  A 

1  An  expressive,  old  English  word,  which  often  occurs  in  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's letters.     "  As  we  say  in  Derbyshire,"  she  sometimes  added.     George 
Eliot,  also  of  Derbyshire,  often  uses  it. 

2  Miss  Nightingale  took  great  pains  with  most  of  her  letters.     She 
often  made  a  rough  draft  in  a  note-book,  and  then  used  the  same  words  in 
letters  to  different  correspondents,  or  used  part  of  the  original  passage 
in  a  letter  to  one  correspondent,  and  part  in  a  letter  to  another.     Here,  as 
in  one  or  two  other  cases,  I  reunite  passages  from  two  letters.     One  of 
them  was  addressed  to  the  same  cousin  to  whom  Parthenope  wrote. 


very  different  note,  it  will  be  observed,  from  that  which 
Parthenope — and  Pippa — heard  from  "the  lark  on  the  wing." 
And  so,  too,  with  regard  to  the  house  at  Embley.  Mr. 
Nightingale  had  found  it  a  plain,  substantial  building  of  the 
Georgian  period.  He  enlarged  it  into  an  ornate  mansion 
in  the  Elizabethan  style.  His  wife  and  elder  daughter 
were  much  occupied  with  the  interest  of  furnishing  it  ap- 
propriately, and  Mr.  Nightingale  was  greatly  pleased  with 
his  alterations.  "  Do  you  know/'  said  Florence,  as  she 
walked  with  an  American  friend  on  the  lawn  in  front  of  the 
drawing-room,  "  what  I  always  think  when  I  look  at  that 
row  of  windows  ?  I  think  how  I  should  turn  it  into  a 
hospital,  and  just  how  I  should  place  the  beds."  1 


Embley  was  now  a  large  house,  with  accommodation 
enough  to  receive  at  one  time,  as  Florence  recorded  in  a 
letter,  "  five  able-bodied  married  females,  with  their  hus- 
bands and  belongings."  The  large  number  of  Mr.  Nightin- 
gale's brothers  and  sisters,  some  of  whom  had  many  sons 
and  daughters,  made  the  family  circle  of  the  Nightingales  a 
very  wide  one.  Between  four  of  the  families  the  intercourse 
was  particularly  close — the  Nightingales,  the  Nicholsons, 
the  Bonham  Carters,  and  the  Samuel  Smiths.  One  of  Mrs. 
Nightingale's  sisters  married  Mr.  George  Thomas  Nicholson, 
of  Waverley  Abbey,  near  Farnham,  Surrey.2  Among  their 
children,  Marianne  was  as  a  girl  a  great  friend  of  her  cousin 
Florence.  In  1851  Miss  Nicholson  married  Captain  (after- 
wards Sir)  Douglas  Galton,  who,  some  few  years  later, 
became  closely  and  helpfully  connected  with  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's work.  To  Mr.  Nicholson's  sister,  "  Aunt  Hannah," 
Florence  was  greatly  attached.  Another  of  Mrs.  Nightin- 
gale's sisters  married  Mr.  John  Bonham  Carter,  of  Ditcham, 
near  Petersfield,  for  many  years  M.P.  for  Portsmouth.  His 
eldest  daughter,  Joanna  Hilary,  was  a  particular  friend  of 
Florence  Nightingale,  who  said  that  of  all  her  contempor- 

1  Dr.  Elizabeth  Blackwell's  Pioneer  Work,  1895,  p.  185. 

2  The  annals  of  the  Cistercian  Abbey  (of  which  ruins  remain)  are  said 
to  have  suggested  to  Sir  Walter  Scott  the  name  of  his  first  novel. 


aries  within  her  circle,  her  cousin  Hilary  was  the  most 
gifted.  One  of  the  sons,  Mr.  Henry  Bonham  Carter,  was, 
and  is,  Secretary  of  the  Nightingale  Fund,  and  Miss  Nightin- 
gale appointed  him  one  of  her  executors.  Between  the 
Nightingales  and  the  Samuel  Smiths  the  relationship  was 
double.  Mrs.  Nightingale's  brother,  Mr.  Samuel  Smith,  of 
Combe  Hurst,  Surrey,  married  Mary  Shore,  sister  of  Mr. 
Nightingale  ;  moreover,  their  son,  Mr.  William  Shore  Smith, 
was  the  heir  (after  his  mother)  to  the  entailed  land  at 
Embley  and  Lea  Hurst,  in  default  of  a  son  to  Mr.  Nightin- 
gale. The  eldest  child  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Samuel  Smith, 
Blanche,  married  Arthur  Hugh  Clough,  the  poet,  who,  as 
we  shall  hear,  was  closely  associated  with  Miss  Nightingale. 
There  were  many  other  relations ;  but  without  being 
troubled  to  go  into  further  details,  which  might  tax  severely 
even  the  authoress  of  the  Pillars  of  the  House,  the  reader 
will  perceive  that  Florence  Nightingale  was  well  provided 
with  uncles,  aunts,  and  cousins. 

The  fact  is  of  some  significance  in  understanding  the 
circumstances  of  her  life  at  this  time,  and  the  nature  of 
her  struggle  for  independence.  Emancipated  or  revolting 
daughters  are  sometimes  pardoned  or  condoned  if  they 
can  aver  that  they  have  few  home  ties.  To  Mrs.  Nightingale 
it  may  have  seemed  that  in  the  domestic  intercourse  within 
so  large  a  family  circle,  any  comfortable  daughter  might 
find  abundance  of  outlet  and  interest.  And  so,  in  one  respect 
at  least,  her  daughter  Florence  did.  The  maternal  instinct 
in  her,  for  which  she  was  not  in  her  own  person  to  find 
fruition,  went  out  in  almost  passionate  fulness  to  the  young 
cousin,  William  Shore  Smith,  mentioned  above.  He  was 
"  her  boy,"  she  used  to  say,  from  the  day  on  which  he  was 
put  as  a  baby  into  her  arms  when  she  was  eleven  years  old. 
Up  to  the  time  of  his  going  up  to  Cambridge,  he  spent  a 
portion  of  his  holidays  in  every  year  at  Lea  Hurst  or  Embley. 
Florence's  letters  at  such  times  were  full  of  him.  She  was 
successively  his  nurse,  playfellow,  and  tutor.  "  The  son  of 
my  heart,"  she  called  him  ;  "  while  he  is  with  me  all  that 
is  mine  is  his,  my  head  and  hands  and  time." 

It  generally  happens  in  any  large  family  circle  that  there 
is  one  woman  to  whom  all  its  members  instinctively  turn 

CH.  ii   FLORENCE  AS  "  EMERGENCY  MAN  "    31 

when  trouble  comes  or  help  is  needed.  Florence  was  the 
one  in  the  Nightingale  circle  who  filled  this  role  of  Sister  of 
Mercy  or  Emergency  Man — taking  charge  of  one  household 
when  an  aunt  was  away,  or  being  dispatched  to  another  when 
illness  was  prevalent.  In  1845  she  spent  some  time  with 
her  father's  mother,  who  was  threatened  with  paralysis,  and 
whom  she  nursed  into  partial  recovery.  "  I  am  very  glad 
sometimes,"  she  wrote  from  her  grandmother's  sick-room 
to  her  cousin  Hilary,  "  to  walk  in  the  valley  of  the  shadow 
of  death  as  I  do  here  ;  there  is  something  in  the  stillness 
and  silence  of  it  which  levels  all  earthly  troubles.  God 
tempers  our  wings  in  the  waters  of  that  valley,  and  I  have 
not  been  so  happy  or  so  thankful  for  a  long  time.  And  yet 
it  is  curious,  in  the  last  years  of  life,  that  we  should  go  down- 
hill in  order  to  climb  up  the  other  side  ;  that  in  the  struggle 
of  the  spiritual  with  the  material  part  of  the  universe,  the 
material  should  get  the  better,  and  the  soul,  just  at  the 
moment  of  becoming  spiritualised  for  ever,  should  seem  to 
become  more  materialised."  She  made  a  similar  reflection 
a  little  later  in  the  same  year  (1845),  when  tending  her  old 
nurse,  Gale,  in  her  last  illness.  "  The  old  lady's  spirit," 
she  wrote,  "  was  in  her  pillow-cases,  and  one  night  when 
she  thought  she  was  dying,  and  I  was  sitting  up  with  her, 
she  said,  '  Now,  Miss  Florence,  mind  you  have  two  new  cases 
made  for  this  bed,  for  I  think  whoever  sleeps  here  next  year 
will  find  them  comfortable.' '  The  death-bed  of  the  nurse 
of  the  Queen  of  Nurses  deserves  some  note.  The  last  words 
of  Mrs.  Gale,  as  reported  in  other  letters,  were,  "  Don't  wake 
the  cook,"  "  Hannah,  go  to  your  work,"  and  "  Miss  Florence, 
be  careful  in  going  down  those  stairs."  If  the  spirit  of  this 
old  servant  was  materialised  at  the  moment  of  passing,  the 
materialising  took  the  form  at  any  rate  of  faithful  service 
and  of  consideration  for  others. 

Florence's  sympathy  with  those  in  distress  is  shown  in 
the  letter  of  condolence  which  she  wrote  to  Miss  Clarke  upon 
the  death  of  M.  Fauriel : — 

EMBLEY,  July  1844.  I  cannot  help  writing  one  word,  my 
dear  Miss  Clarke,  after  having  just  received  your  note,  though 
I  know  I  cannot  say  anything  which  can  be  of  any  comfort. 
For  there  are  few  sorrows  I  do  believe  like  your  sorrow,  and  few 


people  so  necessary  to  another's  happiness  of  every  instant,  as 
he  was  to  yours.  .  .  .  How  sorry  I  am,  dear  Miss  Clarke,  that  you 
will  not  think  of  coming  to  us  here.  Oh,  do  not  say  that  you 
"  will  not  cloud  young  people's  spirits."  Do  you  think  young 
people  are  so  afraid  of  sorrow,  or  that  if  they  have  lively  spirits, 
which  I  often  doubt,  they  think  these  are  worth  anything,  except 
in  so  far  as  they  can  be  put  at  the  service  of  sorrow,  not  to  relieve 
it,  which  I  believe  can  very  seldom  be  done,  but  to  sympathise 
with  it  ?  I  am  sure  this  is  the  only  thing  worth  living  for,  and 
I  do  so  believe  that  every  tear  one  sheds  waters  some  good  thing 
into  life.  .  .  .  Dear  Miss  Clarke,  I  wish  we  had  you  here,  or  at 
least  could  see  you  and  pour  out  something  of  what  our  hearts 
are  full  of.  That  clever  man  of  Thebes,  one  Cadmus,  need 
never  have  existed,  for  any  good  that  that  cold  pen  and  ink  of 
his  ever  did,  in  the  way  of  expressing  oneself.  The  iron  pen 
seems  to  make  the  words  iron,  but  words  are  what  always  takes 
the  dust  off  the  butterfly's  wings.  .  .  .  What  nights  we  have 
had  this  last  month,  though  when  one  thinks  that  there  are 
hundreds  and  thousands  of  people  suffering  in  the  same  way, 
and  when  one  sees  in  every  cottage  some  trouble  which  defies 
sympathy — and  there  is  all  the  world  putting  on  its  shoes  and 
stockings  every  morning  all  the  same — and  the  wandering  earth 
going  its  inexorable  tread-mill  through  those  cold-hearted  stars 
in  the  eternal  silence,  as  if  nothing  were  the  matter ;— death 
seems  less  dreary  than  life  at  that  rate.  But  I  did  not  mean 
to  say  that,  for  who  would  know  the  peace  of  night,  if  it  were 
not  for  the  troubles  of  the  day,  "  the  welcome,  the  thrice-prayed- 
for,  the  most  fair,  the  best  beloved  night,"  when  one  feels,  what 
at  other  times  one  only  repeats  to  oneself,  that  the  coffin  of  every 
hope  is  the  cradle  of  a  good  experience,  and  that  nobody  suffers 
in  vain.  It  is  odd  what  want  of  faith  one  has  for  one's  friends. 
We  know  what  soft  lots  we  would  have  made  for  them  if  we 
could ;  and  that  we  should  believe  ourselves  so  infinitely  more 
good-natured  than  God,  that  we  cannot  trust  their  lots  with 

It  must  not  be  supposed,  however,  that  Florence  was 
in  request  among  the  family  circle  only  at  times  of  sad 
emergency.  She  sometimes  took  her  place  no  less  effectually 
on  festive  occasions.  Waverley  Abbey,  the  house  of  Uncle 
Nicholson  aforesaid,  was  the  scene  of  family  reunions  at 
Christmas-time;  and  in  letters  to  Miss  Clarke  from  both  Mrs. 
Nightingale  and  her  daughter  Parthe,  there  is  a  lively  account 
of  private  theatricals  there  in  1841.  The  Merchant  of  Venice 
was  chosen,  and  Macready  volunteered  some  assistance. 


Parthe's  artistic  gifts  were  requisitioned,  and  she  was 
"  scene-painter,  milliner,  and  cap -and -fur  maker/'  The 
powers  of  command  and  organization,  which  Florence  was 
afterwards  to  exhibit  in  another  field,  seem  to  have  been 
divined  by  her  cousins,  for  she  was  unanimously  appointed 
stage-manager.  Miss  Joanna  Horner,  who  was  one  of  the 
party,  remembers  that  the  usual  little  jealousies  about  parts 
and  costumes  used  to  disappear  in  presence  of  Florence.  "  Flo 
very  blooming,"  reported  Mrs.  Nightingale.  "  The  actors 
were  not  very  obstinate,  and  were  tolerably  good-tempered," 
wrote  Parthe,  "  but  it  was  hard  work  for  Flo.  There  was  a 
Captain  Elliot,  fresh  from  China,  who  could  by  no  means 
be  brought  to  obey.  He  was  Antonio,  and  would  burst  out 
laughing  in  the  midst  of  his  most  pathetic  bits,  to  the  horror 
of  Shylock,  who  was  very  earnest  and  hard-working."  The 
Lady-in-Chief  in  later  years  in  the  Crimea  had  a  rather 
peremptory  way  with  obstructive  military  gentlemen.  On 
this  occasion,  however,  she  was  perhaps  satisfied  with  the 
assurance  given  at  a  well-known  pantomime  rehearsal,  that 
it  would  "  be  all  right  on  the  night."  But  it  was  not. 
'  Your  flame,  Uncle  Adams,"  x  continues  the  letter  to  Miss 
Clarke,  "  was  very  fine  in  Lancelot !  but,  oh,  desperation, 
forgot  his  Duke's  part  in  the  most  flagrant  way,  tho'  Flo 
had  been  putting  it  into  him  with  a  sledge-hammer  all  the 
week."  In  the  intervals  of  rehearsing,  the  girls  and  their 
cousins  danced  and  sang,  and  took  large  walks,  sixteen 
together.  After  the  performance,  dancing  was  kept  up  till 
five  in  the  morning.  "  Next  day,"  continues  Lady  Verney, 
"  we  were  debating  whether  '  Sing  a  Song  of  Sixpence  ' 
went  on  with  a  bag  or  a  pocket  full  of  rye  ;  and  warming  on 
this  interesting  subject,  we  young  ones  dragged  in  all  the 
old  people,  sought  recruits  high  and  low,  and  had  a  regular 
election  scene.  Uncle  Adams  made  a  hustings  speech, 
giving  both  parties  hopes  of  his  vote  ;  then  the  boys  slunk 
out  after  the  counting,  and  came  in  with  large  outcries  to  be 
counted  a  second  time,  with  many  other  corrupt  practices 
much  used  at  such  times  ;  then  we  bribed  a  little  boy  to  go 
and  make  disturbances  in  the  other  faction  ;  but  you  will 
be  happy  to  hear  the  pockets  had  it  by  a  large  majority, 

1  William  Adams  Smith,  an  unmarried  brother  of  Mrs.  Nightingale. 
VOL.  I  D 


34  CARLYLE'S  "  PAST  AND  PRESENT  "         PT.  i 

and  we  beat  the  base  baggites  out  of  the  field.  After  the 
holloaing  was  over,  and  the  alarming  rushings  and  scream- 
ings  we  had  made,  M.  Kroff  (a  Bohemian),  who  had  listened 
and  assisted,  came  to  Mama,  and  said,  '  This  do  give  me  the 
great  idea  of  the  liberty  of  your  land,  your  young  people  are 
brought  up  so  to  understand  it  in  your  domestic  life  ;  if  we 
were  to  make  such  a  noise  we  should  have  the  police  in  with 
swords  and  cutlasses  to  divide  us  1 '  " 


The  Nightingales  had  as  many  friends  without  as  within 
the  family  circle.  Their  two  homes  brought  them  in  touch 
with  county  society  alike  in  Derbyshire  and  in  Hampshire, 
and  acquaintanceships  made  in  London  were  often  ripened 
in  the  country,  or  vice  versa.  In  Derbyshire  their  friends 
included  the  Strutts,  and  Richard  Monckton  Milnes,  who 
afterwards  took  a  cordial  interest  in  the  Nightingale  Fund. 
In  London,  Florence  and  her  sister  went  out  a  great  deal, 
and  saw  all  that  was  interesting  to  well-educated  young 
persons.  A  letter  from  Florence  to  one  of  her  aunts  shows 
her  occupied  in  politics,  in  literature,  in  astronomy,  with 
something,  perhaps,  of  the  note  of  a  blue ;  yet  with  her 
mind  already  set  on  a  purpose  in  life  : — 

(Miss  F.  Nightingale  to  Miss  Julia  Smith.)  June  20 
[1843].  A  cold  east  wind,  forty-one  days  of  rain  in  the  last 
month  !  as  our  newspaper ~  informs  us  to  prove  that  '43  is 
worse  than  any  preceding  year.  Du  reste,  the  world  very 
pleasant — people  looking  up  in  the  prospect  of  Peel's  giving 
them  free  trade  and  all  radical  measures  in  the  course  of  one  or 
two  years.  Carlyle's  new  Past  and  Present,  a  beautiful  book. 
There  are  bits  about  "  Work,"  which  how  I  should  like  to  read 
with  you  !  "  Blessed  is  he  who  has  found  his  work  :  let  him  ask 
no  other  blessedness.  He  has  a  work,  a  life-purpose :  he  has 
found  it  and  will  follow  it.  .  .  ."  Sir  J.  Graham  is  going  to  be 
obliged  to  give  up  his  Factories  Education  Bill  for  this  year ; 
O  ye  bigoted  Dissenters  !  but  I  am  going  to  hold  my  tongue  and 
not  "meddle  with  politics"  or  "talk  about  things  which  I 
don't  understand,"  for  I  tremble  already  in  anticipation,  and 
proceed  at  once  to  facts.  .  .  .  The  two  things  we  have  done  in 
London  this  year — the  most  striking  things — are  seeing  Bouffe 


in  Clermont,  the  blind  painter  (you  have  seen  him,  so  I  need  not 
descant  on  his  entire  difference  from  anybody  else)  ;  and  going 
under  Mr.  Bethune  to  Sir  James  South's  at  Kensington,1  where 
we  were  from  ten  o'clock  till  three  the  next  morning.  Mr. 
Bethune  is  certainly  the  most  good-natured  man  in  ancient  or 
modern  history.  You  will  fancy  the  first  going  out  upon  the 
lawn  on  that  most  beautiful  of  nights,  with  the  immense  fellow 
slung  in  his  frame  like  a  great  steam-engine,  and  working  as 
easily ;  and  the  mountains  of  the  moon  striking  out  like  bright 
points  in  the  sky,  and  the  little  stars  resolving  themselves  into 
double  and  even  quadruple  stars.  .  .  .  Those  dialogues  of  Galileo 
are  so  beautiful.  Mr.  Bethune  lent  them  us  to  read  in  the  real 
old  first  edition. 

At  Embley  the  Nightingales  saw  something  of  the 
Palmerstons  and  the  Ashburtons.  With  Miss  Louisa 
Stewart  Mackenzie,  who  afterwards  became  the  second  wife 
of  the  second  Lord  Ashburton,  Florence  formed  a  friendship 
which  was  one  of  the  solaces  and  supports  of  her  life  at  this 
time.  Other  friends  who  played  a  yet  larger  part  in  her 
life  were  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bracebridge2  of  Atherstone,  near 
Coventry.  Florence  sketches  the  character  of  some  of  her 
friends  in  a  letter  to  her  cousin  Hilary  (April  1846)  : — 

Mrs.  Keith,  Miss  Button,  and  Louisa  Mackenzie,  may  be 
shortly  described  as  the  respective  representatives  of  the  Soul, 
the  Mind,  and  the  Heart.  The  first  has  one's  whole  worship, 
the  second  one's  greatest  admiration,  and  the  third  one's  most 
lively  interest.  Mrs.  Bracebridge  may  be  described  as  all  three  ; 
the  Human  Trinity  in  one  ;  and  never  do  I  see  her,  without 
feeling  that  she  is  eyes  to  the  blind  and  feet  to  the  lame.  Many 
a  plan,  which  disappointment  has  thinned  off  into  a  phantom 
in  my  mind,  takes  form  and  shape  and  fair  reality  when  touched 
by  her  Ithuriel's  spear  (for  there  is  an  Ithuriel's  spear  for  good 
as  well  as  for  evil). 

Dr.  Richard  Dawes,  Dean  of  Hereford,  who  was  an 
educational  reformer,  and  Dr.  Fowler  of  Salisbury,  who 
anticipated  the  open-air  treatment,  and  was  otherwise  a 
man  of  marked  originality,  were  among  those  whose  friend- 
ship she  valued.  If  Florence  Nightingale  was  to  find  her 

1  Sir  James  South,  astronomer  (1785-1867),  had  a  famous  observatory 
on  Campden  Hill. 

2  N&e  Mills,  cousin  of  Mr.  Arthur  Mills,  M.P. 


home  life  empty  and  unprofitable,  it  was  not  for  lack  of 
congenial  friends. 

She  saw  much,  too,  of  general  society,  and  Embley  was 
often  the  scene  of  entertaining.  We  get  a  glimpse  of  its 
parties  from  an  invitation  which  Mr.  Nightingale  sent  to 
Miss  Clarke  (Oct.  1843)  to  bring  her  friend  Leopold  von 
Ranke  with  her  on  a  visit : — 

Pray  send  him  a  sly  line  to  the  effect  that  he  will  find  Nota- 
bilities here  on  the  24th — to  wit,  the  Speaker  (Shaw  Lefevre), 
the  ex-Foreign  Secretary  (Palmerston),  the  Catholic  Weld  (future 
owner  of  Lulworth  and  nephew  of  the  Cardinal  of  that  ilk),  and 
mayhap  a  Queen's  Equerry  or  two,  a  Baron  of  the  Exchequer 
(Rolfe),  an  Inspector,  or  rather  Engineering  Architect,  of  the  new 
prisons,1  and  a  couple  of  Baronets.  He  should  think  well  on 
this.  Yours,  quizzically,  but  faithfully,  W.  E.  N. 

"  Papa  is  quizzing  the  Baronets,"  added  Florence,  "  who 
are  not  wise  ones.  Provided  you  come,  I  care  for  nobody,  no 
not  I,  and  shall  be  quite  satisfied.  As  M.  de  Something  said 
to  the  Stael, '  Nous  aurons  a  nous  deux  de  1'esprit  pour  quarante ; 
vous  pour  quatre  et  moi  pour  zero.' ' 

There  were  return  invitations  to  great  houses,  and 
occasionally  Florence  retails  their  gossip,  or  her  own  re- 
flections, for  the  benefit  of  cousins  or  aunts  : — 

(To  Miss  Hilary  Bonham  Carter.)  1845  (or  early  '46).  What 
is  the  secret  of  Lady  Jocelyn's  sublime  placidity  ?  I  never 
saw  anything  so  lovely  as  she  is,  and  she  has  lived  four-and- 
twenty  years  of  more  excitement,  I  suppose,  than  ever  fell  to 
anybody's  lot  but  an  actress,  all  the  young  peerage  having  pro- 
posed to  her.  What  gives  her  such  a  fulness  of  life  now  and 
makes  her  find  enough  in  herself  ?  It  is  not  that  she  talks  to 
Lord  Palmerston  or  Lord  Jocelyn,  for  she  never  does  ;  and 
though  she  is  very  fond  of  her  baby,  she  told  me  herself  she  did 
not  care  to  play  with  it.  Perhaps  you  will  say  it  is  want  of 
earnestness,  but,  good  gracious,  my  dear,  if  earnestness  breaks 
one  heart,  who  is  fulfilling  most  the  Creation's  end — she  who  is 
breaking  her  heart,  or  this  woman  who  has  kept  her  serenity  in 
the  midst  of  excitement  and  her  simplicity  in  unbounded 
admiration  ?  The  Palmerstons  are  certainly  the  most  good- 
natured  people  under  the  stars  to  their  guests. 

1  Sir  Joshua  Jebb,  surveyor-general  of  prisons,  designed  the  "  model 
prison  "  at  Pentonville.  Miss  Nightingale  valued  his  friendship  greatly, 
and  appointed  him  a  member  of  the  Council  of  the  Nightingale  Fund. 


We  have  been  since  to  Sir  William  Heathcote's  to  meet  the 
Ashburtons.  I  wish  you  had  been  there  for  the  sake  of  the 
pictures,  and  also  for  the  sake  of  the  artistical  dinner  which,  even 
I  became  aware,  was  such  a  dinner  and  such  plate  as  has  seldom 
blessed  my  housekeeping  eyes.  The  Palmerstons,  too,  have 
had  down  all  their  pictures  from  London — such  a  Rembrandt, 
Pilate  washing  his  hands.  Lord  Ashburton  does  not  look  much 
like  a  settler  of  a  Boundary  question.1  She  is  an  American, 
and  we  swore  eternal  friendship  upon  Boston  ;  I  having,  you 
know,  much  curious  information  to  give  her  upon  that  city  and 
its  inhabitants.  She  had  a  raspberry-tart  of  diamonds  upon 
her  forehead  worth  seeing.  Then  Mesmerism,  and  when  we 
parted,  we  had  got  up  so  high  into  Vestiges  2  that  I  could  not  get 
down  again,  and  was  obliged  to  go  off  as  an  angel.  The  Ash- 
burtons  were  the  only  people  asked  to  meet  the  Queen  at 
Strathfieldsaye  (of  her  society).  It  was  the  most  entire  crash 
ever  heard  of,  and  the  not  asking  the  Palmerstons  considered 
almost  a  personal  insult ;  but  they  say  the  old  Duke  now  cares 
for  nothing  but  flattery,  and  asks  nobody  but  masters  of  hounds. 
He  almost  ill-treated  the  Speaker.  After  dinner,  they  all  stood 
at  ease  about  the  drawing-room,  and  behaved  like  so  many 
soldiers  on  parade.  The  Queen  did  her  very  best  to  enliven  the 
gloom,  but  was  at  last  over-powered  by  numbers,  gagged,  and 
her  hands  tied.  The  only  amusement  was  seeing  Albert  taught 
to  miss  at  billiards. 

Florence's  remark  that  she  would  only  provide  the  zero 
of  esprit  to  Miss  Clarke's  quatre,  is  by  no  means  to  be  taken 
literally.  She  was  attractive,  and  she  attracted  both  men 
and  women.  She  talked  well,  and  often  laid  herself  out  to 
interest  her  companions,  and  sometimes  confounded  them  with 
learning.  In  1844  Julia  Ward  Howe  was  in  England  with  her 
husband,  Dr.  Howe,  and  they  visited  the  Nightingales  at 
Embley.  "  Florence,"  writes  Mrs.  Howe  in  her  reminis- 
cences, "  was  rather  elegant  than  beautiful ;  she  was  tall 
and  graceful  of  figure,  her  countenance  mobile  and  expres- 
sive, her  conversation  most  interesting."  3  A  reminiscence 
of  a  later  date  records  an  encounter  with  Sir  Henry  de  la 

1  A  reference  to  the  "  Ashburton  Treaty  "  concluded  at  Washington  in 
1842.     Alexander  Baring,  first  Baron  Ashburton,  was  the  English  com- 

2  Vestiges  of  Creation,  by  Robert  Chambers,  had  been  published  in  the 
preceding  year  (1844). 

3  Reminiscences,  iSiq^iSw,  by  Julia  Ward  Howe,  1900,  p.  138. 


Beche,  the  pioneer  of  the  Geological  Map  of  England. 
Warrenton  Smythe  and  Sir  Henry  dined  at  Mr.  Nightingale's, 
and  Florence  sat  between  them.  "  She  began  by  drawing 
Sir  Henry  out  on  geology,  and  charmed  him  by  the  boldness 
and  breadth  of  her  views,  which  were  not  common  then. 
She  accidentally  proceeded  into  regions  of  Latin  and  Greek, 
and  then  our  geologist  had  to  get  out  of  it.  She  was  fresh 
from  Egypt,  and  began  talking  with  W.  Smythe  about  the 
inscriptions,  etc.,  where  he  thought  he  could  do  pretty  well ; 
but  when  she  began  quoting  Lepsius,  which  she  had  been 
studying  in  the  original,  he  was  in  the  same  case  as  Sir 
Henry.  When  the  ladies  left  the  room,  Sir  Henry  said  to 
Smythe,  '  A  capital  young  lady  that,  if  she  hadn't  floored 
me  with  her  Latin  and  Greek/  "  *  "I  have  been  dowager- 
ing  out  with  Papa,"  wrote  Florence  to  Miss  Clarke  (March 
1843),  "  in  the  big  coach  to  a  formal  dinner-party,  where, 
however,  Mr.  Gerard  Noel  and  I  were  very  thick,  he  inquiring 
tenderly  after  you  and  your  whereabouts." 

Of  Miss  Nightingale's  personal  appearance  in  early 
womanhood,  there  are  pen-pictures  by  very  competent 
hands.  Lady  Lovelace,  in  her  verses  entitled  A  Portrait, 
Taken  from  Life,  emphasises  a  certain  spiritual  aloofness  in 
her  friend : — 

I  saw  her  pass,  and  paused  to  think  1 

She  moves  as  one  on  whom  to  gaze 
With  calm  and  holy  thoughts,  that  link 

The  soul  to  God  in  prayer  and  praise. 
She  walks  as  if  on  heaven's  brink, 

Unscathed  thro'  life's  entangled  maze. 

I  heard  her  soft  and  silver  voice 

Take  part  in  songs  of  harmony, 
Well  framed  to  gladden  and  rejoice  ; 

Whilst  her  ethereal  melody 
Still  kept  my  soul  in  wav'ring  choice, 

'Twixt  smiles  and  tears  of  ectasy.  .  .  . 

I  deem  her  fair, — yes,  very  fair  ! 

Yet  some  there  are  who  pass  her  by, 
Unmoved  by  all  the  graces  there. 

Her  face  doth  raise  no  burning  sigh, 
Nor  hath  her  slender  form  the  glare 

Which  strikes  and  rivets  every  eye. 

1  Caroline  Fox,  Memories  of  Old  Friends,  1882,  pp.  311-312. 


Her  grave,  but  large  and  lucid  eye, 

Unites  a  boundless  depth  of  feeling 
With  Truth's  own  bright  transparency, 

Her  singleness  of  heart  revealing  ; 
But  still  her  spirit's  history 

From  light  and  curious  gaze  concealing.  .  .  . 

Mrs.  GaskelFs  picture  in  prose  gives  some  lighter  touches. 
"  She  is  tall ;  very  straight  and  willowy  in  figure  ;  thick 
and  shortish  rich  brown  hair ;  very  delicate  complexion  ; 
grey  eyes,  which  are  generally  pensive  and  drooping,  but 
when  they  choose  can  be  the  merriest  eyes  I  ever  saw  ;  and 
perfect  teeth,  making  her  smile  the  sweetest  I  ever  saw. 
Put  a  long  piece  of  soft  net,  and  tie  it  round  this  beautifully 
shaped  head,  so  as  to  form  a  soft  white  framework  for  the 
full  oval  of  her  face  (for  she  had  the  toothache,  and  so  wore 
this  little  piece  of  drapery),  and  dress  her  up  in  black  silk, 
high  up  to  the  long,  white  round  throat,  and  with  a  black 
shawl  on,  and  you  may  get  near  an  idea  of  her  perfect  grace 
and  lovely  appearance.  She  is  so  like  a  saint."  1  She 
dressed  becomingly ;  but  had  a  saint's  carelessness  in  such 
things,  somewhat  to  her  elder  sister's  despair.  "  Make  Flo 
wear  her  white  silk  frock  to-night,"  she  wrote  on  one  occasion 
to  her  mother.  Many  years  later,  when  stores  and  comforts 
were  being  sent  out  to  the  East  under  cover  to  the  Lady-in- 
Chief,  Lady  Verney  insinuated  "  one  little  gown  for  Flo," 
and  who  will  not  love  her  for  it  ?  "  When  in  1849  sne 
started  to  winter  in  the  East,  her  mother  says  " — I  quote 
again  from  Mrs.  Gaskell — "  they  equipped  her  en  princesse, 
and  when  she  came  back  she  had  little  besides  the  clothes 
she  had  on ;  she  had  given  away  her  linen,  etc.,  right  and 
left  to  those  who  wanted  it." 


Those  who  have  social  gifts  often  find  sufficient  happi- 
ness in  their  exercise  ;  but  Florence,  though  she  sometimes 
enjoyed  the  intercourse  of  intellectual  society,  reproached 
herself  all  the  while  for  doing  so.  She  felt  increasingly  that 
she  had  other  gifts  which  were  more  properly  hers,  and  that 

1  From  a  letter  to  Catherine  Winkworth,  written  in  1854  ;    for  other 
passages  in  the  letter,  see  pp.  8,  41,  139. 


the  life  of  society  was  a  distraction  into  the  wrong  path. 
She  found  even  the  London  season  more  congenial  than  the 
life  of  the  hospitable  country-house.  "  People  talk  of 
London  gaieties,"  she  wrote  to  Miss  Nicholson  ("  Aunt 
Hannah  ")  ;  "  but  there  you  can  at  least  have  your  mornings 
to  yourself.  To  me  the  country  is  the  place  of  '  row/  Since 
we  came  home  in  September,  how  long  do  you  think  we  have 
been  alone  ?  Not  one  fortnight.  A  country-house  is  the 
real  place  for  dissipation.  Sometimes  I  think  that  every- 
body is  hard  upon  me,  that  to  be  for  ever  expected  to  be 
looking  merry  and  saying  something  lively  is  more  than 
can  be  asked  mornings,  noons,  and  nights." 

When  she  was  alone  with  her  parents  and  her  sister,  she 
hardly  found  the  life  at  home  more  satisfying.  This  was 
partly,  as  she  confessed  in  many  a  page  of  self-examination, 
the  result  of  her  own  shortcomings.  "  Ask  me,"  she  wrote 
to  "  Aunt  Hannah,"  "  to  do  something  for  your  sake,  some- 
thing difficult,  and  you  will  see  that  I  shall  do  it  regularly, 
which  is  for  me  the  most  difficult  thing  of  all."  Let  those 
who  reproach  themselves  for  a  desultoriness,  seemingly 
incurable,  take  heart  again  from  the  example  of  Florence 
/Nightingale  !  No  self-reproach  recurs  more  often  in  her 
(  private  outpourings  at  this  time  than  that  of  irregularity 
\jand  even  sloth.  She  found  it  difficult  to  rise  early  in  the 
morning ;  she  prayed  and  wrestled  to  be  delivered  from 
desultory  thoughts,  from  idle  dreaming,  from  scrappiness  in 
unselfish  work.  She  wrestled,  and  she  won.  When  her 
capacities  had  found  full  scope  in  congenial  work,  nothing 
was  more  fixed  and  noteworthy  in  her  life  and  work  than 
\\  regularity,  precision,  method,  persistence.  But  in  part, 
the  failings  with  which  she  reproached  herself  were  the 
fault  of  her  circumstances.  The  fact  of  the  two  country 
homes  militated  against  steady  work  in  either.  Her 
parents  were  not,  indeed,  careless  or  thoughtless  beyond 
others  in  their  station,  but  rather  the  reverse.  Mr.  Nightin- 
gale was  a  careful  landlord  and  zealous  in  county  business, 
and  his  wife  took  some  interest,  as  I  have  already  said,  in 
village  schools  and  charities.  But  to  Florence's  parents, 
these  things  were  rather  graces  rightly  incidental  to  their 
station,  than  the  main  business  of  life.  Florence's  more 


eager  temperament  and  larger  capacity  craved  for  greater 
consistency  in  the  energies  of  life.  She  was  expected  to 
play  the  part  of  Lady  Bountiful  one  day,  and  to  be  equally 
ready  to  play  that  of  Lady  Graceful  the  next.  A  friend  who 
visited  at  Lea  Hurst  recalls  how  Florence  would  often  be 
missing  in  the  evening,  and  on  search  being  made  she  would 
be  found  in  the  village,  sitting  by  the  bedside  of  some  sick 
person,  and  saying  she  could  not  sit  down  to  a  grand  seven 
o'clock  dinner  while  this  was  going  on.1  But  by  the  time 
she  had  schooled  herself  to  any  regularity  of  work  at  Lea 
Hurst,  the  hour  had  come  for  moving  to  Embley.  By  the 
time  she  had  settled  down  to  work  amongst  her  poor  at 
Embley,  the  hour  of  the  London  season  had  struck.  "  I 
should  be  very  glad,"  she  wrote  to  her  aunt  from  Embley, 
"  if  I  could  have  been  left  here  when  they  went  to  London, 
as  there  is  so  much  to  be  done,  but  as  that  would  not  be 
heard  of,  London  is  really  my  place  of  rest." 

The  companionship  which  Florence  had  at  home  was 
sometimes  wearisome  to  her.  The  sisters,  as  we  have  already 
seen,  were  not  in  full  sympathy.  The  parents  were  not  un- 
intellectual  persons,  but,  again,  much  the  reverse.  Mrs. 
Nightingale  was  a  woman  of  bright  intelligence,  and  of  much 
social  charm.  Mr.  Nightingale  was  a  highly  intellectual  man, 
sensitive,  too,  and  refined.  He  shot  and  hunted,  but  he 
was  not  ardently  devoted  to  either  sport,  and  was  interested 
in  many  things.  Perhaps  in  too  many,  and  yet  not  enough 
in  any.  Florence  Nightingale  in  her  later  years  used  some- 
times to  describe  with  a  twinkle  of  affectionate  humour  the 
routine  of  a  morning  in  her  home  life  as  a  girl.  Mama,  we 
may  suppose,  was  busy  with  housekeeping  cares.  Papa 
was  very  fond  of  reading  aloud,  and  in  order  to  interest  his 
daughters,  would  take  them  through  the  whole  of  The 
Times,  with  many  a  comment,  no  doubt,  by  the  way.  "  Now, 
for  Parthe,"  Miss  Nightingale  used  to  say,  "  the  morning's 
reading  did  not  matter ;  she  went  on  with  her  drawing  ; 
but  for  me,  who  had  no  such  cover,  the  thing  was  boring  to 
desperation."  "To  be  read  aloud  to,"  she  wrote,  "  is  the 
most  miserable  exercise  of  the  human  intellect.  Or  rather, 
is  it  any  exercise  at  all  ?  It  is  like  lying  on  one's  back,  with 
1  Letter  of  Mrs.  Gaskell  to  Catherine  Winkworth,  Oct.  20,  1854. 


one's  hands  tied,  and  having  liquid  poured  down  one's  throat. 
Worse  than  that,  because  suffocation  would  immediately 
ensue,  and  put  a  stop  to  this  operation.  But  no  suffocation 
would  stop  the  other."  l  As  the  younger  daughter  of  a 
busily  efficient  mother,  Florence  was  not  often  entrusted 
with  household  duties  ;  but  on  one  occasion  at  any  rate,  she 
was  left  in  command,  and  that,  during  the  important  season 
of  jam-making.  "  My  reign  is  now  over,"  she  wrote  to  her 
cousin  Hilary,  who  was  an  art-student  (Dec.  1845)  ;  "  angels 
and  ministers  of  grace  defend  me  from  another  !  though  I 
cannot  but  view  my  fifty-six  pots  with  the  proud  satisfaction 
of  an  Artist,  my  head  a  little  on  one  side,  inspecting  the 
happy  effect  of  my  works  with  more  feeling  of  the  Beautiful 
than  Parthe  ever  had  in  hers."  And  even  housekeeping 
brought  obstinate  questionings  with  it  to  Florence.  She 
describes  a  bout  of  it  on  another  occasion  in  a  letter  to 
Madame  Mohl  (July  1847)  : — 

I  am  up  to  my  chin  in  linen  and  glass,  and  I  am  very  fond 
of  housekeeping.  In  this  too-highly-educated,  too-little-active 
age  it,  at  least,  is  a  practical  application  of  our  theories  to  some- 
thing— and  yet,  in  the  middle  of  my  lists,  my  green  lists,  brown 
lists,  red  lists,  of  all  my  instruments  of  the  ornamental  in  culinary 
accomplishments  which  I  cannot  even  divine  the  use  of,  I  can- 
not help  asking  in  my  head,  Can  reasonable  people  want  all 
this  ?  Is  all  that  china,  linen,  glass  necessary  to  make  man  a  Pro- 
gressive animal  ?  Is  it  even  good  Political  Economy  (query, 
for  "  good,"  read  "  atheistical "  Pol.  Econ.  ?)  to  invent  wants  in 
order  to  supply  employment  ?  Or  ought  not,  in  these  times, 
all  expenditure  to  be  reproductive  ?  "  And  a  proper  stupid 
answer  you'll  get,"  says  the  best  Versailles  service  ;  "  so  go  and 
do  your  accounts ;  there  is  one  of  us  cracked." 


Florence  was  an  affectionate  and  dutiful  daughter.  She 
obeyed  and  yielded  for  many  years.  She  strove  hard  to 
think  that  her  duty  lay  at  home,  and  that  the  trivial  round 
and  common  task  would  furnish  all  that  she  had  any  right, 
before  God  or  man,  to  ask.  But  as  the  sense  of  a  vocation 
elsewhere  strengthened  and  deepened  in  her  mind,  she  may 

1  Suggestions  for  Thought,  vol.  ii.  p.  385. 


well  have  thought  that,  as  her  elder  sister  was  contented  to 
stay  at  home,  a  life  of  activity  outside  might  for  the  other 
daughter  not  be  inconsistent  with  affection  for  her  parents. 
She  had,  indeed,  intellectual  interests  of  her  own.  She 
read  a  great  deal  in  English,  French,  German  ;  in  devotional 
works,  in  poetry,  history,  philosophy.  And  what  she  read 
she  marked,  and  inwardly  digested.  A  copy  (unfortunately 
not  complete)  is  preserved  of  the  first  edition  of  Browning's 
Paracelsus,  which  she  annotated  with  remarks,  paraphrases, 
and  illustrative  cases  as  she  read.  The  first  scene  of  the 
poem — "  Paracelsus  Aspires  " — contains  many  a  passage 
which  aroused  a  sympathetic  echo  in  her  heart.  The  key- 
note is  struck  early.  "  Pursuing  an  aim  not  to  be  found  in 
/  life,"  is  her  comment,  "  is  its  true  misery."  Then  she  kept 
|  commonplace-books,  in  which,  under  heads  alphabetically 
arranged — such  as  Age  of  Reason,  Bigotry,  Creeds,  Death, 
i  Education,  and  so  forth — she  copied  out  passages  which 
struck  her.  She  was  accumulating  stores  of  information 
and  reflection.  In  some  remarks  upon  Lacordaire  in  one  of 
her  note-books  I  find  this  passage  copied  out : — 

I  desire  for  a  considerable  time  only  to  lead  a  life  of  obscurity 
and  toil,  for  the  purpose  of  allowing  whatever  I  may  have  received 
of  God  to  ripen,  and  turning  it  some  day  to  the  glory  of  His  Name. 
Nowadays  people  are  too  much  in  a  hurry  both  to  produce  and 
consume  themselves.  It  is  only  in  retirement,  in  silence,  in 
meditation,  that  are  formed  the  men  who  are  called  to  exercise 
an  influence  on  society. 

For  her  own  part,   as  her  powers  of  reflection  were 

strengthened,  so  did  her  sense  of  a  vocation  become  more 

f.  insistent  with  every  year.     In  some  autobiographical  notes, 

I  Miss  Nightingale  records  May  7,  1852,  as  the  date  at  which 

•  she  was  conscious  of  "  a^aU^onijGod  to  be  a  saviour  "  ; 

but  the  thought  of  devoting  herself  to  be  a  nurse  came  much 

earlier.     Mrs.  Julia  Ward  Howe,  in  the  reminiscences  quoted 

above,  describes  how  during  the  visit  of  herself  and  her 

husband  to  Embley  in  1844,  Florence  had  taken  Dr.  Howe 

aside  and  asked  him  this  question  :   "  If  I  should  determine 

to  study  nursing,  and  to  devote  my  life  to  that  profession, 

do  you  think  it  would  be  a  dreadful  thing  ?  "     Dr.  Howe,  it 

will  be  remembered,  was  of  wide  repute  as  a  philanthropist, 


and  Miss  Nightingale  thought  much  of  his  opinion.  It  was 
favourable  to  her  wish.  "  Not  a  dreadful  thing  at  all,"  he 
replied  ;  "I  think  it  would  be  a  very  good  thing."  "  My 
idea  of  heaven,"  she  wrote  a  little  time  afterwards,  "  is 
when  my  dear  Aunt  Hannah  and  I  and  my  boy  Shore  and  all 
of  us  shall  be  together,  nursing  the  sick  people  who  are  left 
behind,  and  giving  each  other  sympathies  beside,  and  our 
Saviour  in  the  midst  of  us,  giving  us  strength."  But, 
meanwhile,  she  hoped  to  realize  some  little  piece  of  the 
heaven  on  earth.  She  pursued  other  inquiries,  laid  her 
plans,  kept  her  own  counsel,  and  then  made  a  first  bid  for 
freedom.  The  nature  of  her  plans,  the  nipping  of  them  in 
the  bud  by  maternal  frost,  and  her  following  dejection  are 
told  in  a  letter  to  her  cousin  Hilary  (Dec.  n,  1845)  :— 

Well,  my  dearest,  I  am  not  yet  come  to  the  great  thing  I 
wanted  to  say.  I  have  always  found  that  there  was  so  much 
truth  in  the  suggestion  that  you  must  dig  for  hidden  treasures 
in  silence  or  you  will  not  find  it ;  and  so  I  dug  after  my  poor 

Nlittle_plan  in  silence,  even  from  you.  It  was  to  go  to  be^f  nurse 
at  Salisbury  Hospital  for  these  few  months  to  learn  the  "  prax."  ; 
and  then  to  come  home  and  make  such  wondrous  intimacies  at 
West  Wellow,  under  the  shelter  of  a  rhubarb  powder  and  a 
dressed  leg ;  let  alone  that  no  one  could  ever  say  to  me  again, 
your  health  will  not  stand  this  or  that.  I  saw  a  poor  woman 
die  before  my  eyes  this  summer  because  there  was  no  one  but 
fools  to  sit  up  with  her,  who  poisoned  her  as  much  as  if  they 
had  given  her  arsenic.  And  then  I  had  such  a  fine  plan  for 
those  dreaded  latter  days  (which  I  have  never  dreaded),  if  I  should 

(outlive  my  immediate  ties,  of  taking  a  small  house  in  West 
Wellow. — Well,  I  do  not  like  much  talking  about  it,  but  I  thought 
something  like  a  Protestant  Sisterhood,  without  vows,  for  women 
vof  educated  feelings,  might  be  established.  But  there  have 
I  been  difficulties  about  my  very  first  step,  which  terrified  Mama. 
I  do  not  mean  the  physically  revolting  parts  of  a  hospital,  but 
things  about  the  surgeons  and  nurses  which  you  may  guess. 
Even  Mrs.  Fowler  1  threw  cold  water  upon  it ;  and  nothing  will  be 
.  done  this  year  at  all  events,  and  I  do  not  believe — ever  ;  and  no 
advantage  that  I  see  comes  of  my  living  on,  excepting  that  one 
becomes  less  and  less  of  a  young  lady  every  year,  which  is  only 
a  negative  one.  You  will  laugh,  dear,  at  the  whole  plan,  I 
daresay ;  but  no  one  but  the  mother  of  it  knows  how  precious 

1  The  wife  of  Dr.  Richard  Fowler,  physician  to  the  Salisbury  Infirmary, 
mentioned  above,  p.  35. 


an  infant  idea  becomes ;  nor  how  the  soul  dies  between  the 
destruction  of  one  and  the  taking  up  of  another.  I  shall  never 
do  anything,  and  am  worse  than  dust  and  nothing.  r\vonder 
if  our  Saviour  were  to  walk  the  earth  again,  and  I  were  to  go  to 
Him  and  ask,  whether  He  would  send  me  back  to  live  this  life 
again,  which  crushes  me  into  vanity  and  deceit.  Oh  for  some 
strong  thing  to  sweep  this  loathsome  life  into  the  past. 

And  so  ended  for  the  time  the  dash  of  the  caged  bird 
for  liberty. 



Though  the  outward  man  may  perish,  yet  the  inward  man  is  renewed 
day  by  day.  For  our  light  affliction,  which  is  but  for  a  moment,  worketh 
for  us  a  far  more  exceeding  and  eternal  weight  of  glory  ;  while  we  look 
not  at  the  things  which  are  seen,  but  at  the  things  which  are  not  seen  : 
for  the  things  which  are  seen  are  temporal,  but  the  things  which  are  not 
seen  are  eternal. — ST.  PAUL. 

THE  failure  of  her  plan  left  Florence  in  a  state  of  great 
dejection.  "  The  day  of  personal  hopes  and  fears,"  she 
wrote,  "  is  over  for  me.  Now  I  dread  and  desire  no  more." 
This  was  but  a  passing  mood ;  and  very  soon,  as  we  shall 
hear  in  the  next  chapter,  she  resumed,  with  increased  deter- 
mination, her  struggle  for  freedom  and  self-expression  in  a 
life  of  action.  But  for  the  moment,  and  at  many  recurring 
moments  in  later  years,  the  dejection  was  intense.  It  was 
not  merely  the  disappointment  of  an  eager  mind  denied  its 
appropriate  energy  ;  it  was  the  exceeding  bitter^cry  of  an 
intensely  religious  soul,  tempted  in  its  perplexity  to  ask, 
"  My  God,  my  God,  why  hast  Thou  forsaken  me  ?  " 

In  some  autobiographical  notes  Miss  Nightingale  re- 
corded under  the  year  1843  "  an  illness  and  an  acquaintance  I 
made  with  a  woman  to  whom  all  unseen  things  seemed  real, 
and  eternal  things  near,  awakened  me"  [from  dreaming]. 
The  woman  to  whom  she  referred  was,  it  may  safely  be  con- 
jectured, Miss  Hannah  Nicholson.  They  met  once  or  twice 
a  year — when  Miss  Nicholson  visited  Ernbley  or  Miss  Nightin- 
gale stayed  with  Miss  Nicholson's  brother  at  Waverley.  At 
other  times  they  exchanged  a  voluminous  correspondence, 
and  this  was  almost  entirely  devoted  to  religious  experi- 



ences  and  speculations.  "  Aunt  Hannah  "  had  inexhaustible 
sympathy  with  her  self-torturing  young  friend.  She  did 
not  chide  or  discourage  Florence  ;  but  the  burden  of  her 
message  was  the  claim  of  the  spiritual  life,  the  message  of 
Paul  to  the  Corinthians.  "  Your  whole  life,"  wrote  Florence 
in  one  of  many  bursts  of  affectionate  gratitude  to  Miss 
Nicholson,  "  seems  to  be  love,  and  you  always  find  words  in 
your  heart  which,  without  the  pretension  of  enlightening, 
yet  are  like  a  clearing  up  to  me.  You  always  seem  to  rest 
on  the  heart  of  the  divine  Teacher,  and  to  participate  in  His 
mysteries."  "  Your  letters,"  she  said  on  another  occasion, 
"  stay  by  me  and  warm  me  when  the  dreams  of  life  come 
one  after  another,  clouding  and  covering  the  realities  of  the 
unseen."  To  this  sympathetic  and  (in  some  limited  respects) 
kindred  soul,  Florence  poured  out  unreservedly  the  experi- 
ences of  her  spiritual  life ;  as  also,  sometimes,  though  with 
more  conscious  art  of  literary  expression,  to  Miss  Clarke  in 


A  few  letters,  selected  from  a  great  number,  will  serve 
to  trace  the  course  of  her  religious  thoughts.  They  resumed, 
it  will  be  seen,  the  spiritual  experiences  and  convictions  of 
the  saints  who  have  served  mankind.  The  Reality  of  the 
Unseen  World  is  the  subject  of  a  letter  to  Miss  Clarke  (August 
1846),  in  which,  after  a  page  of  family  news,  she  continues: — 

But  I  think  you  must  be  tired  of  all  this,  for  I  fancy  that  you 
live  much  more  in  the  supernatural  than  the  natural  world. 
I  always  believe  in  Homer ;  and  in  St.  Paul's  "  cloud  of  wit- 
nesses "  ;  and  in  the  old  Italian  pictures,  which  have  a  first 
story,  where  the  Unseen  live  au  premier,  with  a  two-pair  back, 
where  the  Pere  Eternal's  shadow  is  half  seen  peeping  out,  and  a 
ground  floor  where  poor  mortals  live,  but  still  have  a  connexion 
with  the  establishment  above  stairs.  I  like  those  books,  where 
the  Invisible  communicates  freely  with  the  Visible  Kingdom  ; 
not  that  they  ever  come  up  to  one's  idea,  which  is  always  so  much 
brighter  than  the  execution  (for  the  word  is  only  the  shadow 
cast  by  the  light  of  the  thought) ;  but  they  are  suggestive.  I 
|always  believe  in  a  multitude  of  spirits  inhabiting  the  same 
Hhouse  with  ourselves ;  we  are  only  the  entresol,  quite  the  most 
insignificant  of  its  lodgers,  and  too  busy  with  our  pursuit  of  daily 

48      THE  REALITY  OF  THE  UNSEEN  WORLD     PT.  i 

bread,  too  much  confined  with  hard  work,  and  too  full  of  the 
struggle  with  the  material  world,  to  visit  the  glorious  beings 
immediately  about  us — whom  we  shall  see,  when  the  present 
candle  of  our  earthly  reason  is  put  out,  which  blinds  us  just  as 
the  candle  end,  left  burning  after  one  is  in  bed,  long  prevents 
us  from  seeing  the  world  without,  lit  up  by  the  full  moon.  It 
trembles  and  flickers  and  sinks  into  its  socket,  and  then  we 
catch  a  bright  stripe  of  moonlight  shining  on  the  floor ;  but  it 
flares  up  again,  and  the  silvery  stream  is  gone  "as  if  it  could 
not  be,  as  if  it  had  not  been,"  and  we  can  see  nothing  but  the 
candle,  and  hardly  imagine  any  other  light — till  at  last  it  goes 
quite  out,  and  the  flood  of  moonlight  rushes  into  the  room,  and 
every  pane  of  the  casement  window,  and  every  ivy  leaf  without, 
are  stamped,  as  it  were,  upon  the  floor,  and  a  whole  world  revealed 
to  us,  which  that  flickering  candle  was  the  means  of  concealing 
from  us.  This  is  what  Jesus  Christ  meant,  I  suppose,  when  He 
said  that  He  must  go  away  in  order  to  be  with  His  friends  in  His 
spirit,  that  He  would  be  much  nearer  to  them  after  death  than 
in  the  flesh.  In  the  flesh,  we  were  separated  from  our  friends 
by  their  going  into  the  next  room  only — a  door,  a  partition 
divided  us ;  but  what  can  separate  two  souls  ?  Often  I  fancy 
that  we  can  perceive  the  presence  of  a  good  spirit  communicating 
thoughts  to  us  :  are  they  not  all  ministering  spirits,  sent  forth 
to  minister  unto  us  ?  When  Jesus  Christ  warns  us  not  to  despise 
any  one,  because  that  in  Heaven  their  angels  do  always  behold 
the  face  of  His  Father,  perhaps  He  thought  that  our  beloved 
ones,  who  are  gone,  might  be  these  our  "  angels,"  who  must 
therefore  have  communion  with  men. 

ft  I  It  is  here,  where  a  cold  and  false  life  of  conventionalism  and 
\  \M prejudices  and  frivolity  is  often  all  that  reaches  our  outward 
*  usenses,  that  we  are  sometimes  baffled  in  seeing  into  the  life  which 
lies  beneath ;  it  is  here,  amidst  the  tempers  and  little  vexations, 
which  are  the  shadows  that  dim  the  brightest  intercourse,  it  is 
here  that  we  fail  sometimes  in  having  intimate  communion  with 
souls,  and  we  stop  short  at  the  dead  coverings ;  but  between  the 
soul  which  is  free,  and  our  soul,  what  barrier,  what  restraint 
can  there  be  ?  Human  sympathy  is  indeed  necessary  to  our 
happiness  of  every  moment,  and  the  absence  of  it  makes  an  awful 
void  in  our  life.  Every  room  becomes  a  grave,  and  every  book 
we  used  to  read  together  a  monument  to  the  one  we  love.  But 
some  one  says,  that  we  need  an  idee  merveilleuse  to  preserve  us 
from  the  busy  devils,  which  imagination  here  is  always  conjuring 
up.  This  idee  merveilleuse,  I  think,  is  the  idea  of  the  loving 
presence  of  spirits.  Those  dear  ones  are  safe,  and  yet'  with  us 
still,  for  truly  do  I  believe  that  these  senses  of  ours  are  what 
veil  from  us,  not  discover  to  us,  the  world  around  (which  is 


sometimes  revealed  to  us  in  dreams,  or  in  moments  of  excitement, 
as  at  the  point  of  death,  either  our  own  or  a  friend's,  or  by 
mesmerism,  or  by  faith).  Faith  is  the  real  eye  and  ear  of  the 
soul,  and  as  it  would  be  impossible  to  describe  the  harmony  and 
melody  of  Music  to  one  who  was  born  deaf,  or  to  make  a  blind 
man  perceive  the  beauty  of  the  effects  of  colour,  so  without  faith 
the  spiritual  world  is  as  much  a  hidden  one  to  the  soul  as  the 
Art  of  Painting  to  the  blind  man.  On  a  dark  night  the  moon, 
when  at  last  she  rises,  reveals  to  us,  just  at  our  feet,  a  world  of 
objects,  of  the  presence  of  which  we  were  not  aware  before.  We 
see  the  river  sparkling  in  the  moonbeams  close  beside  us,  and 
the  tall  shadows  sleeping  quietly  on  the  grass,  and  the  sharp 
relief  of  the  architectural  cornices,  and  the  strong  outline  of 
the  lights  and  shades,  so  well  denned  that  we  can  scarcely  believe 
hat  a  moment  ago,  and  we  did  not  see  them.  What  shall  we  say 
if,  one  day,  the  moon  rises  upon  our  spiritual  world,  and  we  see 
close  at  hand,  ready  to  hold  the  most  intimate  communion  with 
us,  those  spirits,  whom  we  had  loved  and  mourned  as  lost  to  us  ? 
We  are  like  the  blind  men  by  the  wayside,  and  ought  to  sit  and 
I  cry,  Lord  that  we t may  receive  our  sight !  And,  when  we  do  receive 
[/it,  we  shall  perhaps  find  that  we  require  no  transporting  into 
•[another  world,  to  become  aware  of  the  immediate  presence  of 
1  an  Infinite  Spirit,  and  of  other  lesser  ones  whom  we  thought 
gone.  What  we  require  is  sight,  not  change  of  place,  I  believe. 

The  struggle  which  absorbed  Florence's  mind  and  heart 
was  to  establish  some  harmony  between  her  dealings  in 
the  world  of  sense  and  her  communion  with  the  unseen 
world.  She  reproached  herself  for  impatience,  for  selfish- 
ness, for  lack  of  confidence  in  the  good  time  of  God.  Happy 
are  they  who  have  no  more  occasion  than  she  to  deem  them- 
selves unprofitable  servants  !  But  the  condition  of  attain- 
ment to  comparative  sinlessness  is,  I  suppose,  the  Conviction 
of  Sin  ;  and  this  was  intensely  present  to  Florence  Nightin- 
gale. "  I  have  read  over  your  letters  many  times  again  and 
again  since  I  have  been  here,"  she  wrote  from  Tapton  (her 
grandmother  Shore's  house)  in  1845.  "  Ah,  my  dear  Aunt 
Hannah,  you  are  like  the  white  swan  on  your  cool,  fresh, 
blue  lake,  rocked  to  peace  and  rest  by  the  sweet  winds  of 
your  faith  and  love,  and  you  cannot  be  dragged  down  into 
our  busy  chicken-yard  of  struggling,  scratting  life.1  You 
do  not  know  what  it  is,  when  one  has  sinned  with  such 

1  The  reader  will  note  the  recurrence  here  of  some  phrases  already  used 
in  another  letter.     It  is  an  instance  of  a  point  there  noted  (p.  28). 

VOL.  I  E 


aggravation  as  I  have.     No  one  has  had  such  advantages, 
and  I  have  sinned  with  all  these,  and  after  having  been  made 
to  know  what  sin  was,  and  what  my  obligations  were.     No 
one  has  so  grieved  the  Holy  Spirit.     I  have  sinned  against 
my   conviction,    and,    as   it   were,    standing  before   God's 
judgment-seat/'      In  many  of  Miss  Nightingale's  religious 
outpourings,  both  in  letters  and  in  pjjvatejjlaries,  there  is 
a  note  which  borders   on  the  morbid ;    but   the  danger- 
point  is  averted,  sometimes  by  practical  good  sense,  and 
sometimes  by  a  saving  sense  of  humour.    The  letter,  just 
given,  was  soon  followed  by  another  (from  Embley,  Oct. 
1845),  containing  this  account  of  a  scene  at  the  bedside 
of  her  favourite  little  cousin : — "  One  night  when  I  was 
reading  to  Shore  the  verse  about  the  temptations  of  the 
world,  the  flesh,  and  the  devil,  and  we  were  agreeing  that 
the  temptations  of  the  flesh  were  liking  a  great  deal  of  play 
and  no  work,  and  lying  long  in, bed,  and  the  temptations  of 
the  world  liking  to  be  praised  and  admired,  and  be  a  general 
favourite,  and  so  on,  more  than  anything  else,  and  we  were 
both  very  much  affected,  he  said  before  I  left  him,  '  Now  I 
may  lie  in  bed  to-morrow,  and  you  won't  call  me  at  six,  will 
you  ?  '     And  I  too  went  away  to  dream  about  a  great  many 
things  which  I  had  much  better  not  think  about.     Oh,  how 
I  did  laugh  at  the  results  of  all  our  feelings  !     To  think  and 
to  be  are  two  such  different  things  !  " 

To  bring  thought  and  action  into  harmony,  to  make  the 
presence  of  the  Unseen  a  guide  through  the  path  of  this 
present  world  :  that  is  the  problem  of  the  practically  re- 
ligious life.  To  Florence  Nightingale,  communion  with  the 
Unseen  meant  something  deeper,  richer,  fuller,  more  positive 
than  the  fear  of  God.  The  fear  of  God  is  the  beginning, 
but  not  the  end,  of  wisdom,  for  perfect  love  casteth  out  fear. 
It  was  for  the  love  of  God  as  an  active  principle  in  her  mind, 
constraining  all  her  deeds,  that  she  strove.  When  she  was 
conscious  of  falling  away  from  this  grace,  she  knew  the  pains 
of  hell,  here  and  now,  as  the  state  of  a  soul  in  estrangement 
from  the  Eternal  goodness  : — 

(To  Miss  Nicholson.)  EMBLEY,  Christmas  Eve  [undated]. 
Think  of  me  to-morrow  at  the  Sacrament.  I  have  not  taken  it 
since  I  last  took  it  with  you,  except  once,  with  a  poor  woman 

CH.  in  THE  SORROWS  OF  HELL  51 

on  her  death-bed.  Time  has  sped  wearily  with  me  since  then, 
Aunt  Hannah.  If,  when  the  plough  goes  over  the  soul,  there 
were  always  the  hand  of  the  Sower  there  to  scatter  the  seed  after 
it,  who  would  regret  ?  But  how  often  the  seed-time  has  passed, 
it  is  too  late,  the  harrow  has  gone  over,  the  time  of  harvest  has 
come  and  the  harvest  is  not.  .  .  .  Give  me  your  thoughts 
to-morrow,  my  dear  Aunt  Hannah;  I  want  them  sadly;  and 
take  me  with  you  to  the  Throne  of  Grace.  Bless  me  too,  as  poor 
Esau  said.  I  have  so  felt  with  him,  and  cried  with  a  great  and 
exceeding  bitter  cry,  Bless  me,  even  me  also,  O  my  Father ; 
but  He  never  has  yet,  and  I  have  not  deserved  that  He  should. 

(To  Miss  Nicholson,  May  1846.)  "The  sorrows  of  hell 
compassed  me  about."  We  learn  to  know  what  these  are 
beforehand,  when  we  cannot  command  our  thoughts  to  pray, 
when  all  our  omissions  give  themselves  form  and  life,  and  shut 
us  up  within  a  wall  over  which  there  is  no  looking,  no  return  : 
when  they  hold  us  down  with  a  resistless  power,  and  we  are 
hemmed  in  with  our  remembrances,  like  a  cell  compassing  us 
about.  What  can  the  future  hell  be  other  than  this  ?  The 
Unspeakable  Presence  may  be  joy  and  peace  unspeakable,  but 
it  may  be  a  Horror,  a  Dweller  on  our  Threshold,  a  Spirit  of  Fear 
to  the  stricken  conscience.  Jesus  Christ  prayed  on  the  Cross 
not  for  life  or  safety,  but  only  for  the  light  of  His  countenance : 
Why  hast  Thou  forsaken  me  ?  And  all  sorrows  disappear  before 
that  one.  Let  those  who  have  felt  it  say  if  it  is  not  so,  and  if 
there  is  any  sorrow  like  unto  that  sorrow.  How  willingly 
would  we  exchange  it  for  pain,  which  we  almost  welcome  as  a 
proof  of  His  care  and  attention.  Grief  in  itself  is  no  evil ;  as 
making  the  Unseen,  the  Eternal,  and  the  Infinite  present  to 
our  consciousness,  it  is  rather  a  good.  But  when  all  one's 
imaginations  are  wandering  out  of  one's  reach,  then  one  realizes 
the  future  state  of  punishment  even  in  this  world.  Pray  that 
He  will  not  leave  my  soul  in  hell.  How  little  can  be  done  under 
the  spirit  of  fear ;  it  is  the  very  sentence  pronounced  upon  the 
serpent,  "  Upon  thy  belly  shalt  thou  go  all  the  days  of  thy  life." 
Oh,  if  any  one  thinks  that,  in  the  repentance  of  fear,  this  is  the 
time  for  the  soul  to  open  to  the  Infinite  goodness,  to  the  spirit 
of  love  and  of  power  and  of  a  sound  mind,  in  the  heart's  death 
to  live  and  love, — let  him  try  how  hard  it  is  to  collect  oneself 
out  of  distraction — let  him  feel  the  woes  of  saying  To-morrow, 
when  God  has  said  To-day ;  and  then  when  he  has  found  how 
weary,  stale,  flat,  and  unprofitable  seem  all  the  uses  of  the 
world,  let  him  try  with  a  dead  heart  to  live  unto  God,  to  love 
with  all  his  strength  when  all  energy  to  love  is  gone. 

The  state  of  perfect  love,  expressing  itself  in  perfect 


Tightness  of  thought  and  deed,  may  be  unattainable  on 
earth,  but  nothing  lower  than  the  search  for  this  ideal  can 
satisfy  the  yearnings  of  a  soul  such  as  was  Florence  Night- 
ingale's. She  had  the  Hunger  for  Righteousness.  "  The 
crown  of  righteousness  !  "  she  wrote  to  Miss  Nicholson  (May 
1846).  "  That  word  always  strikes  me  more  than  anything 
in  the  Bible.  Strange  that  not  happiness,  not  rest,  not 
forgiveness,  not  glory,  should  have  been  the  thought  of 
that  glorious  man's  mind,  when  at  the  eve  of  the  last  and 
greatest  of  his  labours  ;  all  desires  so  swallowed  up  in  the 
one  great  craving  after  righteousness  that,  at  the  end  of  all 
his  struggles,  it  was  mightier  within  him  than  ever,  mightier 
even  than  the  desire  of  peace.  How  can  people  tell  one  to 
dwell  within  a  good  conscience,  when  the  chief  of  all  the 
apostles  so  panted  after  righteousness  that  he  considered  it 
the  last  best  gift,  unattainable  on  earth,  to  be  bestowed 
in  Heaven  ?  " 

To  do  All  for  the  Love  of  God  was  the  ideal  which  she 
sought  to  attain.  "  The  foundation  of  all  must  be  the  love 
of  God.  That  the  sufferings  of  Christ's  life  were  intense, 
who  doubts  ?  but  the  happiness  must  also  have  been  intense. 
Only  think  of  the  happiness  of  working,  and  working  success- 
fully too,  and  with  no  doubts  as  to  His  path,  and  with  no 
alloy  of  vanity  or  love  of  display  or  glory,  but  with  the 
ecstasy  of  single-heartedness !  All  that  I  do  is  always 
poisoned  by  the  fear  that  I  am  not  doing  it  in  simplicity  and 
godly  , sincerity."  This  was  one  of  the  constant  dreads 
throughout  her  life.  When  she  had  become  famous,  and 
was  praised  and  courted  by  the  popular  breath,  she  shrank, 
with  an  abhorrence  which  some  may  have  considered  almost 
morbid  and  which  was  certainly  foreign  to  the  fashion  of 
the  world,  from  any  avoidable  publicity.  This  was  no  pose 
or  affectation  ;  it  was  part  of  her  religion.  It  was  a  counsel 
dictated  by  her  earnest  striving  to  dissociate  her  work  for 
God  from  any  taint  of  worldliness. 


The  world  which  came  to  owe  much  to  the  life  and 
example  of  Florence  Nightingale,  owes  something  to  Miss 

CH.  in  THE  SERVICE  OF  MAN  53 

Nicholson,  whose  gentle  sympathy  brought  to  her  young 
friend  much  strength  and  peace.  But  the  world  may  also 
be  glad,  I  think,  that  Miss  Nightingale's  religious  thought 
worked  itself  out  in  the  end  on  lines  of  her  own.  Florence 
Nightingale  has  been  enrolled  by  the  popular  voice  among 
the  saints ;  but  there  are  saints  and  saints — saints  con- 
templative or  mystic,  and  saints  active  and  ministering. 
In  all  ages  of  the  world  there  have  been  godly  women  whose 
passion  of  religious  spirit  has  led  them  to  lives  of  professional 
pieties,  rather  than  of  practical  service  ;  who  have  spent  in 
ecstasies  of  pity,  or  in  tortures  of  self-abasement  at  the  foot 
of  the  Cross,  powers  which  might  have  gone  to  redeem  and 
save  the  world.  Florence  Nightingale  had,  as  we  have 
sufficiently  seen,  a  profound  sense  of  personal  religion.  She 
felt,  as  all  the  saints  must  feel,  that  a  religious  life  means  a 
state  of  the  soul ;  but  she  attained  also  to  the  conviction, 
which  became  ever  stronger  within  her,  that  a  state  of  the 
soul  can  only  be  approved  by  its  fruits,  and  that  thus  the 
Service  of  God  is  the  Service  of  Man  : — 

(To  Miss  Nicholson.)  EMBLEY,  Sept.  24,  [1846],  I  am 
almost  heart-broken  to  leave  Lea  Hurst.  There  are  so  many 
duties  there  which  lie  near  at  hand,  and  I  could  be  well  content 
to  do  them  there  all  the  days  of  my  life.  I  have  left  so  many 
poor  friends  there  whom  I  shall  never  see  again,  and  so  much 
might  have  been  done  for  them.  ...  I  feel  my  sympathies 
are  with  Ignorance  and  Poverty.  The  things  which  interest  me 
interest  them ;  we  are  alike  in  expecting  little  from  life,  much 
from  God ;  we  are  taken  up  with  the  same  objects.  .  .  .  My 
imagination  is  so  filled  with  the  misery  of  this  world  that  the 
only  thing  in  which  to  labour  brings  any  return,  seems  to  me 
helping  and  sympathizing  there ;  and  all  that  poets  sing  of  the 
glories  of  this  world  appears  to  me  untrue  :  all  the  people  I  see 
are  eaten  up  with  care  or  poverty  or  disease.  I  know  that  it 
was  God  who  created  the  good,  and  man  the  evil,  which  was 
not  the  will  of  God,  but  the  necessary  consequence  of  His  leaving 
free-will  to  man.  I  know  that  misery  is  the  alphabet  of  fire, 
in  which  history,  with  its  warning  hand,  writes  in  flaming  letters 
the  consequences  of  Evil  (the  Kingdom  of  Man),  and  that  without 
its  glaring  light,  we  should  never  see  the  path  back  into  the 
Kingdom  of  God,  or  heed  the  directing  guide-posts.  But  the 
judgments  of  nature  (the  law  of  God),  as  she  goes  her  mighty, 
solemn,  inflexible  march,  sweeps  sometimes  so  fearfully  over 

54         THE  TEST  OF  RELIGIOUS  DOCTRINE        PT.  i 

man  that  though  it  is  the  triumph,  not  the  defeat  of  God's 
truth  and  of  His  laws,  that  falsehood  against  them  must  work 
misery,  and  misery  is  perhaps  here  the  strongest  proof  that  His 
loving  hand  is  present, — yet  all  our  powers,  hopes,  and  fears 
must,  it  seems  to  me,  be  engrossed  by  doing  His  work  for  its 
relief.  Life  is  no  holiday  game,  nor  is  it  a  clever  book,  nor  is  it 
a  school  of  instruction,  nor  a  valley  of  tears ;  but  it  is  a  hard 
fight,  a  struggle,  a  wrestling  with  the  Principle  of  Evil,  hand  to 
hand,  foot  to  foot.  Every  inch  of  the  way  must  be  disputed. 
The  night  is  given  us  to  take  breath,  to  pray,  to  drink  deep  at 
the  fountain  of  power.  The  day,  to  use  the  strength  which  has 
been  given  us,  to  go  forth  to  work  with  it  till  the  evening.  The 
Kingdom  of  God  is  coming ;  and  "  Thy  Kingdom  come  "  does 
not  mean  only  "  My  salvation  come." 

"  To  find  out  what  we  can  do,"  she  wrote  as  an  annota- 
tion in  Browning's  Paracelsus,  "  one's  individual  place,  as 
well  as  the  General  End,  is  man's  task.  To  serve  man  for 
God's  sake,  not  man's,  will  prevent  failure  from  being 
disappointment."  Florence  Nightingale  sought  then  to 
save  her  soul  by  serving  others. 

It  was  by  this  same  test  of  practical  service  that  she 
came  to  try  and  to  weigh  the  various  forms  of  religious 
doctrine.  Her  father  was,  as  I  have  said,  a  Unitarian,  and 
several  other  members  of  her  family  circle  were  of  the  same 
persuasion.  But  she  and  some  others  of  that  circle  con- 
formed in  practice  to  the  services  of  the  English  Church. 
And  so,  in  some  degree,  Miss  Nightingale  continued  to  con- 
form to  the  end  of  her  life ;  though,  as  we  shall  find  later 
on,  she  departed  widely  from  the  doctrines  of  the  Church 
as  ordinarily  received,  did  not  care  about  "  going  to  church," 
and  framed  a  creed  of  her  own.  But  she  always  had  a 
tolerant  mind  for  any  faith  that  issued  in  good  works,  and 
an  impatience  with  any  that  did  not.  It  is  for  this  reason 
that  she  seemed  to  be  all  things  to  all  men  in  religious 
matters.  Her  mission  to  the  Crimea  involved,  as  we  shall 
learn,  some  religious  bickerings.  Protestants  thought  her 
too  indulgent  to  Roman  Catholics,  and  Catholics  were  sore 
that  she  did  not  go  further  with  them.  But  her  real  attitude 
is  perfectly  clear,  and  was  entirely  consistent.  If  she  looked 
with  a  favouring  eye  on  Roman  Catholics,  it  was  on  account, 
not  of  their  dogmas,  but  of  their  deeds.  Two  letters  to 


Madame  Mohl,  ten  years  apart  in  date,  suggest  what  was 
always  Miss  Nightingale's  point  of  view  : — 

LEA  HURST,  Sept.  [1841].  We  are  very  anxious  to  hear, 
dearest  Miss  Clarke,  how  you  are  going  on,  and  how  Mrs.  Clarke 
is,  some  day  when  you  are  able  to  write.  We  are  just  returned 
from  the  Leeds  Consecration,  and  a  more  curious  or  interesting 
sight  I  never  saw.  Imagine  a  procession  of  400  clergy- 
men, all  in  their  white  robes,  with  scarfs  of  blue  and  black  and 
fur  and  even  scarlet,  so  that  I  thought  some  of  them  were 
cardinals,  headed  by  the  Archbishop  of  York,1  the  Bishop  of 
Ripon,  &c.,  and  most  curious  of  all  the  Bishop  of  New  Jersey 
to  whom  Dr.  Hook  (who  is, — you  know,  perhaps, — the  Puseyite 
vicar  of  Leeds)  had  written  to  ask  him  to  come  over  from 
America,  expressly  to  preach  the  consecration  sermon.  Imagine 
all  this  procession,  entering  the  church,  repeating  the  24th 
Ps. — and  then  filling  the  space  before  the  altar  and  the 
Transept — and  all  responding  aloud  through  the  service,  so  that 
the  roll  and  echo  of  their  responses  through  the  Transept,  without 
being  able  to  see  them,  was  the  most  striking  thing  I  ever  heard. 
It  was  quite  a  gathering-place  for  Puseyites  from  all  parts  of 
England.  Papa  heard  them  debating,  whether  they  should 
have  lighted  candles  before  the  Altar,  but  they  decided  no, 
because  the  Bishop  of  Ripon  would  not  like  it — however  they 
had  them  in  the  evening  and  the  next  morning  when  he  was 
gone — and  Dr.  Hook  has  the  regular  Catholic  jerk  in  making 
the  genuflexion  every  time  he  approaches  the  altar.  The  church 
is  a  most  magnificent  one,  and  every  one  has  contributed  their 
best  to  it,  with  a  true  Catholic  spirit;  one  gave  the  beautiful 
painted  window,  another  the  Correggio  for  the  Altar  piece, 
the  Queen  Dowager  the  Altar-cloth,  another  the  bells,  &c.,  &c. 
Dr.  Hook  gives  a  service  every  morning  and  evening  at 
£  p.  7,  and  the  Sacrament  every  Sunday;  and  the  aisle  is  all 
.occupied  by  open  seats.  During  the  consecration  I  wished  to 
have  been  a  clergyman,  but  when  Mrs.  Gaskell 2  (whom  I  was  with, 
she  is  a  good  Tory  and  half  a  Puseyite  and  withal  the  most 
general  favourite  and  generally  lenient  person  in  England) — when 
she  and  I  came  down  afterwards  for  the  Sacrament,  I  could  not 
help  looking  in  the  faces  of  the  clergymen,  for  the  impression 
I  expected  to  see,  as  they  walked  down  the  aisle,  and  wandered 
about,  (this  immense  crowd)  after  the  Sacrament — and  oh ! 
I  was  woefully  disappointed — they  looked  so  stupid;  and  I 
could  not  help  thinking,  If  you  had  been  Catholics,  you  would 

1  Edward  Vernon  Harcourt. 
2  N6e  Brandreth  (not  Mrs.  Gaskell,  the  authoress). 

56  THE  "  NO  POPERY  "  AGITATION  PT.  i 

all  have  been  on  your  knees  during  the  service,  without  minding 
your  fine  gowns  and  the  cold  stones. 

EMBLEY,  Feb.  7  [1851].  ...  I  suppose  you  know  how  the 
two  churches  have  been  convulsing  themselves  in  England  in 
a  manner  discreditable  to  themselves  and  ridiculous  to  others. 
The  Anglican  Ch.  screamed  and  struggled  as  if  they  were 
taking  away  something  of  hers,  the  Catholic  Ch.  sang  and 
shouted  as  if  she  had  conquered  England — neither  the  one  nor 
the  other  has  happened.  Only  a  good  many  people  (in  our 
Church)  found  out  they  were  Catholics  and  went  to  Rome, 
and  a  good  many  other  people  found  out  they  were  Protestants, 
which  they  never  knew  before,  and  left  the  Puseyite  pen,  which 
has  now  lost  half  its  sheep.  At  Oxford  the  Puseyite  volcano 
is  extinct.  .  .  .  You  know  what  a  row  there  will  be  this  Session 
in  Parliament  about  it.  The  most  moderate  wish  for  a  Con- 
cordat, but  even  these  say  that  we  must  strip  the  R.C. 
Bishops  of  their  new  titles.  Many  think  the  present  Gov. 
will  go  out  upon  it,  because  they  won't  do  enough  to  satisfy 
the  awakened  prejudices  of  dear  John  Bull.  I  used  to  think 
it  was  a  mere  selfish  quarrel  between  red  stockings  and  lawn 
sleeves ;  but  not  a  bit  of  it ;  it's  a  real  popular  feeling.  One 
would  think  that  all  our  religion  was  political  by  the  way  we 
talk,  and  so  I  believe  it  is.  From  the  rising  of  the  sun  until 
the  going  down  of  the  same,  you  hear  our  clergy  talking  of 
nothing  but  Bishops  versus  Vicars  General — never  a  word  of 
different  plans  of  education,  prisons,  penitentiaries,  and  so 
on.  One  would  think  we  were  born  ready  made  as  to  education, 
but  that  Art  made  a  Church. 

I  feel  little  zeal  in  pulling  down  one  Church  or  building  up 
another,  in  making  Bishops  or  unmaking  them.  If  they  would 
make  us,  our  Faith  would  spring  up  of  itself,  and  then  we 
shouldn't  want  either  Anglican  Ch.  or  R.C.  Church  to  make 
it  for  us.  But,  bless  my  soul,  people  are  just  as  ignorant 
now  of  any  law  in  the  human  mind  as  they  were  in 
Socrates'  time.  We  have  learnt  the  physical  laws  since  then; 
but  mental  laws — why,  people  don't  even  acknowledge  their 
existence.  They  talk  of  grace  and  divine  influence, — why,  if 
it's  an  arbitrary  gift  from  God,  how  unkind  of  Him  not  to  give 
it  before !  And  if  it  conies  by  certain  laws,  why  don't  we  find 
them  out  ?  But  people  in  England  think  it  quite  profane  to 
talk  of  finding  them  out,  and  they  pray  "  That  it  may  please 
Thee  to  have  mercy  upon  all  men,"  when  I  should  knock  you 
down  if  you  were  to  say  to  me  "  That  it  should  please  you  to 
have  mercy  upon  your  boy."  I  never  had  any  training;  and 
training  to  be  called  "  training,"  (as  we  train  the  fingers  to  play 


scales  and  shakes) — I  doubt  whether  anybody  ever  gets  from 
other  people,  because  they  don't  know  how  to  give  it  according 
to  any  certain  laws.  I  wish  everybody  would  write  as  far 
as  they  can  A  Short  Account  of  God's  Dealings  with  them, 
like  the  old  Puritans,  and  then  perhaps  we  should  find  out  at 
last  what  are  God's  ways  in  His  goings  on  and  what  are  not. 

Arthur  Stanley  (afterwards  the  Dean)  once  asked  her 
to  use  her  influence  in  preventing  a  friend  of  his  and  of  hers 
from  taking  the  step,  supposed  to  be  imminent,  of  joining 
the  Roman  Communion.  In  a  long  reply  which  Miss 
Nightingale  wrote  with  great  care  (Nov.  26,  1852),  she 
promised  to  do  what  she  could,  but  explained  that  this 
might  not  be  much.  She  herself  remained  in  the  Anglican 
Communion  "  because  she  was  born  there,"  and  because 
the  Roman  Church  offered  some  things  which  she  personally 
did  not  want.  She  feared  their  friend  might  consider 
that  such  arguments  as  she  could  urge  against  the  Roman 
Church  applied  equally  against  the  Anglican.  And,  on  the 
other  hand,  she  had  never  concealed  her  opinion  that  the 
Roman  Communion  offered  advantages  to  women  which 

he   Church   of   England    (at   that   time)    did  not.     "  The 
.tholic  orders,"   she  wrote,   "  offered  me  work,   training 

or  that  work,  sympathy  and  help  in  it,  such  as  I  had  in  vain 
>ught  in  the  Church  of  England.  The  Church  of  England 
has  for  men  bishoprics,  archbishoprics,  and  a  little  work 
(good  men  make  a  great  deal  for  themselves).  For  women 
she  has — what  ?  I  had  no  taste  for  theological  discoveries. 
I  would  have  given  her  my  head,  my  heart,  my  hand.  She 
would  not  have  them.  She  did  not  know  what  to  do  with 
them.  She  told  me  to  go  back  and  do  crochet  in  my  mother's 
drawing-room  ;  or,  if  I  were  tired  of  that,  to  marry  and 
look  well  at  the  head  of  my  husband's  table.  You  may  go 
to  the  Sunday  School,  if  you  like  it,  she  said.  But  she  gave 
me  no  training  even  for  that.  She  gave  me  neither  work 
Vta  do  for  her,  nor  education  for  it." 

The  latter  part  of  the  second  letter  to  Miss  Clarke  shows 
Miss  Nightingale's  interest  in  speculations  about  the  basis 
of  moral  law ;  but  so  far  as  the  rivalry  of  Churches  was 
concerned,  it  was  by  works  that  she  tried  them.  "  In  all 
the  dens  of  disgrace  and  disease,"  she  wrote  in  one  of  her 


note-books  (1849),  "  the  on^y  c^er§y  wno  deserve  the  name 
of  pastors  are  the  Roman  Catholic.  The  rest,  of  all  de- 
nominations— Church  of  England,  Church  of  Scotland, 
Dissenters — are  only  theology  or  tea  mongers."  "  It  will 
never  do,"  she  once  said  to  a  friend,  "  unless  we  have  a 
Church  of  which  the  terms  of  membership  shall  be  works, 
not  doctrines."  l 

She  was  interested,  however,  in  doctrines  also.  If  she 
was  resolved  to  dedicate  her  life  to  the  Service  of  Man,  she 
was  no  less  convinced  that  such  service  could  only  be  ren- 
dered, at  the  best  and  highest,  in  the  light,  and  with  the 
sanction,  of  Service  to  God.  Herein  may  be  found  an 
underlying  unity  and  harmony  through  the  many  and 
diverse  interests  of  her  life.  We  shall  see  that  she  who 
opened  new  careers  and  standards  of  practical  benevolence 
in  the  modern  world,  spent  also  years  of  thought  upon  the 
less  manageable  task,  if  not  of  providing  the  world  with  a 
new  religion,  at  any  rate  of  giving  to  old  doctrines  a  new 
application,  and,  as  she  hoped,  a  more  acceptable  sanction. 

1  Life  of  Lord  Houghton,  by  T.  Wemyss  Reid,  vol.  i.  p.  524. 



There  are  Private  Martyrs  as  well  as  burnt  or  drowned  ones.  Society 
of  course  does  not  know  them  ;  and  Family  cannot,  because  our  position 
to  one  another  in  our  families  is,  and  must  be,  like  that  of  the  Moon  to 
the  Earth.  The  Moon  revolves  round  her,  moves  with  her,  never  leaves 
her.  Yet  the  Earth  never  sees  but  one  side  of  her  ;  the  other  side  remains 
for  ever  unknown. — FLORENCE  NIGHTINGALE  (in  a  Note-book  of  1847-49). 

A  POET  of  our  time  has  counted  "  Disappointment's  dry 
and  bitter  root  "  among  the  ingredients  of  "  the  right  mother- 
milk  to  the  tough  hearts  that  pioneer  their  kind."  If  it 
indeed  be  so,  Florence  Nightingale  was  well  nurtured.  The 
spiritual  experiences  and  speculations,  recorded  in  the  last 
chapter,  worked  round  to  a  justification,  as  we  have  seen, 
of  her  chosen  plan  of  life.  Religion  thus  brought  no  con- 
solation for  the  failure  of  her  scheme  to  escape  in  December 
1845.  "  My  misery  and  vacuity  afterwards,"  she  wrote  in 
an  autobiographical  retrospect,  "  were  indescribable."  "  All 
my  plans  have  been  wrecked,"  she  wrote  at  the  time,  "  and 
my  hopes  destroyed,  and  yet  without  any  visible,  any 
material  change."  She  faced  the  new  year  and  its  life  on 
the  old  lines  in  a  mood  jDfjlepression  which,  with  some 
happier  intervals,  wasjto  grow  deeper  and  more  intense 
during  the  next  few  years. 

She  did  not,  however,  abandon  her  ideal.  We  shall 
see  in  subsequent  chapters  that  neither  foreign  travel  dis- 
tracted her  from  it,  nor  did  opportunities  for  another  kind 
of  life  allure  her  from  the  chosen  path.  The  way  was  dark 



before  her ;  the  goal  might  never  be  reached,  she  often 
thought,  in  this  present  sphere ;  but  she  felt  increasingly 
\  that  only  in  a  life  of  nursing  or  other  service  to  the  afflicted 
could  her  being  find  its  end  and  scope.  "  The  longer  I  live," 
she  wrote  in  her  diary  (June  22,  1846),  "  the  more  I  feel 
as  if  all  my  being  was  gradually  drawing  to  one  point,  and 
if  I  could  be  permitted  to  return  and  accomplish  that  in 
another  being,  if  I  may  not  in  this,  I  should  need  no  other 
heaven.  I  could  give  up  the  hope  of  meeting  and  living 
with  those  I  have  loved  (and  nobody  knows  how  I  love)  and 
been  separated  from  here,  if  it  would  please  God  to  give  me, 
with  a  nearer  consciousness  of  His  Presence,  the  task  of  doing 
this  in  the  real  life." 

Meanwhile  she  pursued  her  inquiries.  Now  that  the 
fruits  of  Florence  Nightingale's  pioneer  work  have  been 
gathered,  and  that  nursing  is  one  of  the  recognized  occupa- 
tions for  gentlewomen,  it  is  not  altogether  easy  to  realize 
the  difficulties  which  stood  in  her  way.  The  objections 
were  moral  and  social,  rooted  to  large  measure  in  conven- 
tional ideas.  Gentlewomen,  it  was  felt,  would  be  exposed, 
if  not  to  danger  and  temptations,  at  least  to  undesirable 
and  unfitting  conditions.  "  It  was  as  if  I  had  wanted  to  be  a 
kitchen-maid,"  she  said  in  later  years.  Nothing  is  more 
tenacious  than  a  social  prejudice.  But  the  prejudice  was  in 
part  founded  on  very  intelligible  reasons,  and  in  part  was 
justified  by  the  level  of  the  nursing  profession  at  the  time. 
These  are  considerations  to  which  full  weight  must  be 
allowed,  both  in  justice  to  those  who  opposed  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's plans,  and  in  order  to  understand  her  own  courage  and 
persistence.  The  idea  was  widely  prevalent  at  the  time 
that  for  certain  cases  in  hospital  practice  a  modest  woman 
was,  from  the  nature  of  things,  unsuited  to  act  as  a  nurse. 
Mr.  Nightingale,  who  desired  to  do  what  was  right  by  his 
daughter,  made  many  inquiries,  and  consulted  many  friends. 
There  is  a  letter  to  him  from  a  Brighton  doctor  arguing 
against  the  prevalent  belief,  and  maintaining  stoutly  that 
"  women  of  a  proper  age  and  character  are  not  unfit  for 
such  cases.  Age,  habit,  and  office  give  the  mind  a  different 
turn."  But  the  whole  of  this  letter  shows  a  degree  of  broad- 
mindedness  with  regard  to  the  education  and  sphere  of 


women  which  was  in  advance  of  the  average  opinion  at  the 
time.  And  in  any  case,  whether  women  were  fit  or  unfit 
by  nature,  it  was  certain  that  many,  perhaps  most,  of  the 
women  actually  engaged  in  nursing  were  unfit  by  character, 
and  that  a  refined  gentlewoman,  who  joined  the  profession, 
might  thus  find  herself  in  unpleasant  surroundings.  We 
shall  have  to  consider  this  matter  more  fully  in  a  subsequent 
chapter.  Here  it  will  suffice  to  say  that  though  there  were 
better-managed  hospitals  and  worse-managed,  yet  there  was 
a  strong  body  of  evidence  to  show  that  hospital  nurses  had 
opportunities,  which  they  freely  used,  for  putting  the  bottle 
to  their  lips  "  when  so  disposed,"  and  that  other  evils  were 
more  or  less  prevalent  also.1  Reports  from  Paris  and  its 
famous  schools  of  medicine  and  surgery  were  no  better. 
One  who  had  been  through  it  said  that  life  at  the  "  Mater- 
nite  "  was  very  coarse.  In  the  clinique  obstetricale  at  the 
Ecole  de  Medecin,  "  the  eleves  have  the  reputation  of  being 
,\  pretty  generally  the  students'  mistresses."  The  difficulties 
in  the  way  of  a  refined  woman,  who  sought  to  obtain  access 
1  to  the  best  training,  were  very  great.  Dr.  Elizabeth  Black- 
well,  a  pioneer  among  woman-doctors  in  America,  told  Miss 
Nightingale  of  a  young  girl  who  had  planned,  as  the  only 
feasible  way  of  studying  surgery  in  Paris,  to  don  male  attire. 
"  Pantaloons  will  be  accepted  as  a  token  she  is  in  earnest, 
while  a  petticoat  is  always  a  flag  for  intrigue.  She  has  a 
deep  voice,  and  I  think  will  pass  muster  exceedingly  well 
among  a  set  of  young  students,  but  I  shall  be  quite  sorry  for 
her  to  sacrifice  a  mass  of  beautiful  dark  auburn  hair  !  What 
a  strange  age  we  live  in  !  What  singular  sacrifices  and 
extraordinary  actions  are  required  of  us  in  the  service  of 
truth  !  An  age  of  reform  is  a  stirring,  exciting  one,  but  it 
is  not  the  most  beautiful."  The  more  she  heard  of  the 
worst,  the  more  was  Florence  Nightingale  resolved  to  make 
things  better  ;  but  the  more  her  parents  heard,  the  greater 
and  the  more  natural  was  their  repugnance.  Somebody 

1  See  Miss  Nightingale's  letter,  printed  below  (p.  117).  Similarly  she 
wrote  to  her  father  in  1854  (Feb.  22),  that  the  head  nurse  in  a  certain 
London  hospital  told  her  that  "  in  the  course  of  her  large  experience  she 
had  never  known  a  nurse  who  was  not  drunken,  and  that  there  was  immoral 
conduct  practised  in  the  very  wards,  of  which  she  gave  me  some  awful 


must  do  the  rough  pioneer  work  of  the  world ;  but 
one  can  understand  how  the  parents  of  an  attractive 
daughter,  for  whom  their  own  life  at  home  seemed  to 
them  to  open  many  possibilities  of  comfortable  happiness, 
came  to  desire  that  in  this  case  the  somebody  should  be 
somebody  else. 

Miss  Nightingale  herself  was  so  much  impressed  by  the 
difficulties  and  dangers  in  the  way  of  women  nurses,  that  she 
was  inclined  at  first  to  the  idea  that  the  admission  of  gentle- 
women into  the  calling  could  best  be  secured,  either  in 
special  hospitals  connected  with  some  religious  institution, 
'\or  in  general  hospitals  under  cover  of  some  religious  bond. 
"  I  think,"  wrote  Monckton  Milnes  to  his  wife,  "  that 
Florence  always  much  distrusted  the  Sisterhood  matter,"  1 
and  such  was  the  case.  Her  inner  thought  was  that  no  vow 
was  needed  other  than  the  nurse's  own  fitness  for  the  calling 
and  devotion  to  it.  But  she  was  engaged  in  the  crusade  of  a 
pioneer,  and  had  to  consider  what  was  practically  expedient 
and  immediately  feasible,  as  well  as  what  was  theoretically 
reasonable.  Dr.  Blackwell  was  of  the  same  opinion.  She 
did  not  like  religious  orders  in  themselves ;  they  only 
"  become  beautiful,"  she  said,  "  as  an  expedient,  a  temporary 
condition,  an  antidote  to  present  evils."  Miss  Nightingale 
was  therefore  intensely  interested  in  the  Institution  for 
Deaconesses,  with  its  hospital,  school,  and  penitentiary, 
which  a  Protestant  minister,  Pastor  Theodor  Fliedner,  had 
established  some  years  before  at  Kaiserswerth.  Her  family 
were  great  friends  with  the  Bunsens,  and  the  Baron  had  sent 
Florence  one  of  Pastor  Fliedner Js  Annual  Reports.2  Her 
interest  in  it  was  twofold.  It  was  the  kind  of  institution  to 
which  Protestant  mothers  might  not  object  to  send  their 
daughters.  It  was  also  in  some  sort  a  school  of  nursing 
where,  whatever  wider  scope  might  afterwards  be  attainable, 
gentlewomen  could  serve  an  apprenticeship  to  the  calling. 
"  Flo,"  wrote  her  sister  to  a  friend  in  1848,  "  is  exceedingly 

1  Life  of  Lord  Houghton,  vol.  i.  p.  524. 

2  In  many  accounts  of  Kaiserswerth  and  of  Florence  Nightingale,  it 
is  stated  that  her  knowledge  of  the  Institution  came  from  Elizabeth  Fry. 
It  was  a  pleasant  temptation  to  establish  such  a  link  between  these  two 
famous  women,  but  Mrs.  Fry  was  dead  (1845)   before  Miss  Nightingale 
had  ever  heard,  so  far  as  her  papers  show,  of  Kaiserswerth. 


full  of  the  Hospital  Institutions  of  Germany,  which  she  thinks 
so  much  better  than  ours.     Do  you  know  anything  of  the 
great  establishment  at  Kaiserswerth,  where  the  schools,  the 
reform  place  for  the  wicked,  and  a  great  hospital  are  all  under 
the  guidance  of  the  Deaconesses  ?  "     Two  years  before  (June 
1846)  Florence  herself  had  written  to  Miss  Hilary  Bonham 
Carter,  begging  her  to  ask  Mrs.  Jameson  about  "  the  German 
lady  she  knew,  who,  not  being  a  Catholic,  could  not  take  upon 
herself  the  vows  of  a  Sister  of  Charity,  but  who  obtained 
permission  from  the  physician  of  the  hospital  of  her  town  to 
attend  the  sick  there,  and  perform  all  the  duties  which  the 
Sceurs  do  at  Dublin  and  the  Hotel  Dieu,  and  who  had  been 
there  fifteen  years  when  Mrs.  Jameson  knew  her.     I  do  not 
want  to  know  her  name,  if  it  is  a  secret ;  but  only  if  she  has 
extended  it  further  into  anything  like  a  Protestant  Sister- 
hood, if  she  had  any  plans  of  that  sort  which  should  embrace 
women  of  an  educated  class,  and  not,  as  in  England,  merely 
women  who  would  be  servants  if  they  were  not  nurses.     How 
she  disposed  of  the  difficulties  of  surgeons  making  love  to 
her,  and  of  living  with  the  women  of  indifferent  character 
who  generally  make  the  nurses  of  hospitals,  as  it  appears 
she  was  quite  a  young  woman  when  she  began,  and  these 
are  the  difficulties  which  vows  remove  which  one  sees  nothing 
else  can."     Perhaps  it  was  as  a  result  of  these  inquiries  that 
Florence  Nightingale  became  acquainted,   through  Baron 
von  Bunsen,  with  the  institution  at  Kaiserswerth  ;   though, 
as  appears  from  a  letter  given  below,  Madame  Mohl  had 
also   sent   her  some  information  about   it.     It   is  certain 
that  by  the  autumn  of  1846  she  was  in  possession  of  its 
Reports,  and  that  the  place  had  become  the  home  of  her 
heart.     During  these  years  she  was  also  quietly  pursuing 
studies  on  medical  and  sanitary  subjects. 


With  such  thoughts  in  her  mind,  the  routine  of  home 
life  became  more  than  ever  empty  and  distasteful.  Here  are 
two  typical  extracts  from  her  diary  of  1846  : — 

LEA  HURST,  July  7.  What  is  my  business  in  this  world  and 
what  have  I  done  this  last  fortnight  ?  I  have  read  the  Daughter 


at  Home l  to  Father  and  two  chapters  of  Mackintosh ;  a  volume  of 
Sybil  to  Mama.  Learnt  seven  tunes  by  heart.  Written  various 
letters.  Ridden  with  Papa.  Paid  eight  visits.  Done  company. 
And  that  is  all. 

EMBLEY,  Oct.  7.     What  have  I  done  the  last  three  months  ? 

0  happy,  happy  six  weeks  at  the  Hurst,  where  (from  July  15 
to  Sept.  i)  I  had  found  my  business  in  this  world.     My  heart 
was  filled.     My  soul  was  at  home.     I  wanted  no  other  heaven. 
May  God  be  thanked  as  He  never  yet  has  been  thanked  for 
that  glimpse  of  what  it  is  to  live.     Now  for  the  last  five  weeks 
my  business  has  been  much  harder.     They  don't  know  how 
weary  this  way  of  life  is  to  me — this  table  d'hdte  of  people.  .  .  . 
When  I  want  Erfrischung  I  read  a  little  of  the  Jahresberichte 
Uber  die  Diakonissen-Anstalt    in  Kaiserswerth.     There  is   my 
home  ;   there  are  my  brothers  and  sisters  all  at  work.     There 
my  heart  is,  and   there    I   trust   one   day  will   be  my  body  ; 
whether  in  this  state  or  in  the  next,  in  Germany  or  in  England, 

1  do  not  care. 

The  "  happy  six  weeks  at  Lea  Hurst "  were  a  time,  as 
appears  from  the  letter  to  Miss  Nicholson  already  given 
(p-  53)  >  when  she  found  opportunity  to  do  much  sick- 
visiting.  "  One's  days  pass  away,"  she  added  in  the  same 
letter,  "  like  a  shadow,  and  leave  not  a  trace  behind.  How 
we  spend  hours  that  are  sacred  in  things  that  are  profane, 
which  we  choose  to  call  necessities,  and  then  say  '  We 
cannot '  to  our  Father's  business."  At  Embley  the  oppor- 
tunities for  work  among  the  poor  were  less  favourable. 
The  distances  were  greater.  Florence  interested  herself, 
so  far  as  she  was  able,  in  the  school  at  Wellow  ;  and  amongst 
her  papers  of  1846  there  is  an  able  discussion  of  the  defects 
of  elementary  education  as  she  had  there  observed  them. 
But  the  distractions  were  many.  There  was  a  constant 
round  of  company  at  home ;  and,  as  has  been  said  before, 
the  migrations  of  the  family  between  London,  Lea  Hurst, 
and  Embley  were  fatal  to  concentration  of  effort. 


The  year  1847  was  one  °f  much  social  movement  in 
Miss  Nightingale's  life.     In  the  spring  she  was  in  London 

1  See  below,  p.  94. 

CH.  iv  A  VISIT  TO  OXFORD  65 

"  doing  the  exhibitions  and  hearing  Jenny  Lind ;  but  it 
really  requires  a  new  language  to  define  her."  Then  she 
went  with  her  parents  to  the  meeting  of  the  British  Associa- 
tion at  Oxford,  where  Adams  and  Leverrier,  the  twin  dis- 
coverers of  Neptune,  were  the  lions  of  the  day.  She  wrote 
many  lively  accounts  of  the  meeting  to  her  friends,  from 
which  a  passage  or  two  may  be  given  : — 

Here  we  are  in  the  midst  of  loveliness  and  learning ;  for 
never  anything  so  beautiful  as  this  place  is  looking  now,  my 
dearest,  have  I  seen  abroad  or  at  home,  with  its  flowering  acacias 
in  the  midst  of  its  streets  of  palaces.  I  saunter  about  the  church- 
yards and  gardens  by  myself  before  breakfast,  and  wish  I  were 
a  College  man.  I  wish  you  could  see  the  Astronomical  Section — 
Leverrier  and  Adams  sitting  on  either  side  of  the  President, 
like  a  pair  of  turtle-doves  cooing  at  their  joint  star  and  holding 
it  between  them.  .  .  .  We  work  hard.  Chapel  at  8,  to  that 
glorious  service  at  New  College  ;  such  an  anthem  yesterday 
morning  !  and  that  quiet  cloister  where  no  one  goes.  I  brought 
home  a  white  rose  to-day  to  dry  in  remembrance.  Sections 
from  ii  to  3.  Then  Colleges  or  Blenheim  till  dinner  time. 
Then  lecture  at  8  in  the  Radcliffe  Library.  And  philosophical 
tea  and  muffins  at  somebody's  afterwards.  The  Fowlers, 
Hamilton  Grays,  Barlows  and  selves  are  the  muffins ;  Wheat- 
stone,  Hallam,  Chevalier,  Monckton  Milnes  and  some  of  the 
great  guns  occasionally  are  the  philosophy  .  .  . 

and  so  forth,  and  so  forth ;  with  particulars  of  "  church 
every  two  hours  "  on  Sunday,  and  of  a  luncheon  with  Buck- 
land  and  his  famous  menagerie  at  Christ  Church,  when 
Florence  petted  a  little  bear,  and  her  father  drew  her  away, 
but  Mr.  Milnes  mesmerised  it.  "  And  one  thing  more," 
she  adds ;  "  Mr.  Hallam' s  discovery  that  Gladstone  is  the 
Beast  666  (in  the  Revelations)  came  to  him  one  day  by 
inspiration  in  the  Athenaeum,  after  he  had  tried  Pusey  and 
Newman,  and  found  that  they  wouldn't  do." 

Miss  Nightingale  paid  many  visits  during  the  same  year 
with  her  father.  They  went,  for  instance,  to  Lord  Sher- 
borne,  whose  daughter,  Mrs.  Plunkett,  became  a  great  friend 
of  hers  ;  and  they  spent  a  couple  of  days  with  Lord  Lovelace. 
Lady  Lovelace,  Byron's  daughter,  conceived  a  great  admira- 
tion for  Florence  Nightingale,  which  found  expression  in 
the  verses  already  quoted.  It  was  in  this  year  that  Miss 

VOL.  I  F 

66  SAPPHO'S  LEAP  PT.  i 

Clarke  married  her  old  admirer,  M.  Mohl.  Florence's  letter 
of  congratulation  was  not  without  significance  upon  the 
state  of  her  own  feelings,  as  will  be  seen  in  a  later 
chapter  :— 

EMBLEY,  October  13  [1847].  DEAREST  FRIEND — To  think 
that  you  are  now  a  two  months'  wife,  and  I  have  never  written 
to  tell  you  that  your  piece  of  news  gave  me  more  joy  than  I 
ever  felt  in  all  my  life,  except  once,  no,  not  even  excepting 
that  once,  because  that  was  a  game  of  Blind-man's-Buff, — and 
in  your  case  you  knew  even  as  you  were  known.  I  had  the 
news  on  a  Sunday  from  dear  Ju,  and  it  was  indeed  a  Sunday 
joy  and  I  kept  it  holy,  though  not  like  the  city,  which  was  to  be 
in  cotton  to  be  looked  at  only  on  Sundays.  As  has  often  been 
said,  we  must  all  take  Sappho's  leap,  one  way  or  other,  before 
we  attain  to  her  repose — though  some  take  it  to  death,  and 
some  to  marriage,  and  some  again  to  a  new  life  even  in  this 

Which  of  them  to  the  better  part,  God  only  knows. 
Popular  prejudice  gives  it  in  favour  of  marriage.  Should  we 
not  look  upon  marriage,  less  as  an  absolute  blessing,  than  as  a 
remove  into  another  and  higher  class  of  this  great  school-room — 
a  promotion — for  it  is  a  promotion,  which  creates  new  duties, 
before  which  the  coward  sometimes  shrinks,  and  gives  new 
lessons,  of  more  advanced  knowledge,  with  more  advanced 
powers  to  meet  them,  and  a  much  clearer  power  of  vision  to 
read  them.  In  your  new  development  of  life,  I  take,  dearest 
friend,  a  right  fervent  interest,  and  bless  you  with  a  right  heart- 
felt and  earnest  love. 

We  are  only  just  returned  to  Embley,  after  having  passed 
through  London,  on  our  way  from  Derbyshire.  News  have  I 
none,  excepting  financial,  for  no  one  could  talk  of  anything  in 
London  excepting  the  horrid  quantity  of  failures  in  the  City,  by 
which  all  England  has  suffered  more  or  less.  Why  didn't  I  write 
before  ?  Because  I  thought  you  would  rather  be  let  alone  at 
first  and  that  you  were  on  your  travels. 

And  now  for  my  confessions.  I  utterly  abjure,  I  entirely 
renounce  and  abhor,  all  that  I  may  have  said  about  M.  Robert 
Mohl,  not  because  he  is  now  your  brother-in-law,  but  because 
I  was  so  moved  and  touched  by  the  letters  which  he  wrote  after 
your  marriage  to  Mama ;  so  anxious  they  were  to  know  more 
about  you,  so  absorbed  in  the  subject,  so  eager  to  prove  to  us 
that  his  brother  was  such  a  man,  he  was  quite  sure  to  make  you 

And  I  have  not  said  half  enough  either  upon  that  score, 
not  anything  that  I  feel ;  how  "  to  marry  "  is  no  impersonal 


verb,  upon  which  I  am  to  congratulate  you,  but  depends  entirely 
upon  the  Accusative  Case  which  it  governs,  upon  which  I  do 
wish  you  heartfelt  and  trusting  joy.  In  single  life  the  stage 
of  the  Present  and  the  Outward  World  is  so  filled  with  phantoms, 
the  phantoms,  not  unreal  tho'  intangible,  of  Vague  Remorse, 
Tears,  dwelling  on  the  threshold  of  every  thing  we  undertake 
alone,  Dissatisfaction  with  what  is,  and  Restless  Yearnings  for 
what  is  not,  cravings  after  a  world  of  wonders  (which  is,  but  is 
like  the  chariot  and  horses  of  fire,  which  Elisha's  frightened 
servant  could  not  see,  till  his  eyes  were  opened) — the  stage  of 
actual  life  gets  so  filled  with  these  that  we  are  almost  pushed 
off  the  boards  and  are  conscious  of  only  just  holding  on  to  the 
foot  lights  by  our  chins,  yet  even  in  that  very  inconvenient 
position  love  still  precedes  joy,  as  in  St.  Paul's  list,  for  love  laying 
to  sleep  these  phantoms  (by  assuring  us  of  a  love  so  great  that 
we  may  lay  aside  all  care  for  our  own  happiness,  not  because  it  is 
of  no  consequence  to  us,  whether  we  are  happy  or  not,  as  Carlyle 
says,  but  because  it  is  of  so  much  consequence  to  another)  gives 
that  leisure  frame  to  our  mind,  which  opens  it  at  once  to  joy. 

But  how  impertinently  I  ramble  on — "  You  see  a  penitent 
before  you,"  don't  say  "  I  see  an  impudent  scoundrel  before  me  " — 
But  when  thou  seest,  and  what's  more,  when  thou  readest, 
forgive. — You  will  not  let  another  year  pass  without  our  seeing 
you.  M.  Mohl  gives  us  hopes,  in  his  letter  to  Ju,  that  you  won't, 
that  you  will  come  to  England  next  year  for  many  months,  then, 
dearest  friend,  we  will  have  a  long  talk  out.  If  not,  we  really 
must  come  to  Paris — and  then  I  shall  see  you,  and  see  the 
Deaconesses  too,  whom  you  so  kindly  wrote  to  me  about,  but 
of  whom  I  have  never  heard  half  enough.  .  .  . 

The  Bracebridges  are  at  home — she  rejoiced  as  much  as  we 
did  over  your  event — Parthe  is  going  at  the  end  of  November 
to  do  Officiating  Verger  to  a  friend  of  ours  on  a  like  event. — Her 
prospects  are  likewise  so  satisfactory,  that  I  can  rejoice  and 
sympathize  under  any  form  she  may  choose  to  marry  in.  Other- 
wise I  think  that  the  day  will  come,  when  it  will  surprise  us 
as  much,  to  see  people  dressing  up  for  a  marriage,  as  it  would  to 
see  them  put  on  a  fine  coat  for  the  Sacrament.  Why  should 
the  Sacrament  or  Oath  of  Marriage  be  less  sacred  than  any  other  ? 

The  letter  goes  on  to  speak  of  a  visit  recently  paid  to  Mrs. 
Archer  Clive,  well  known  in  her  day  as  the  authoress  of 
Poems  by  V.  and  of  Paul  F  err  oil,  a  sensational  novel  of  some 
force, — a  lady  whose  powers  of  heart  and  mind  were  housed 
in  an  infirm  body.  Miss  Nightingale  admired  her  talents 
and  her  character,  and  valued  her  friendship. 


But  new  friendships  and  varied  interests  did  not  bring 
satisfaction  to  Miss  Nightingale.  She  was  still  constantly 
bent  on  pursuing  a  vocation  of  her  own.  Her  parents 
caught  eagerly  at  an  opportunity  which  offered  itself  at 
the  end  of  this  year  (1847),  ^or  givulg»  as  they  hoped,  a  new 
turn  to  her  thoughts. 



Six  months  of  Rome  and  happiness. — FLORENCE  NIGHTINGALE  (1848). 

IT  was  an  event  of  some  importance  in  the  Nightingale 
family  when  Florence  set  out  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bracebridge, 
in  the  autumn  of  1847,  to  spend  the  winter  at  Rome.  The 
attraction  to  her  was  the  society  of  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  the 
friend  of  whom  she  spoke  as  "  her  Ithuriel."  Moreover 
the  mental  unrest  from  which  Florence  constantly  suffered 
at  home  was  beginning  to  tell  upon  her  health.  "  All  that 
I  want  to  do  in  life/'  she  wrote  to  her  cousin  Hilary,  in  ex- 
plaining the  motive  of  the  tour,  "  depends  upon  my  health, 
which,  I  am  told,  a  winter  in  Rome  will  establish  for  ever." 
She  took  the  foreign  tour  as  a  tonic  to  enable  her  the  better 
to  fulfil  her  vocation.  By  her  parents  and  her  sister  the 
tour  was  regarded  as  a  tonic  which  might  divert  her  from  it. 
They  hoped  that  foreign  travel  would  distract  her  thoughts, 
and  dispel  what  they  perhaps  considered  morbid  fancies. 
She  would  enjoy  pleasant  companionship.  She  would  see 
famous  and  beautiful  things.  She  might  return  converted 
to  the  more  comfortable  belief  that  her  duty  lay  in  accepting 
life  as  she  found  it.  The  point  of  view  comes  out  clearly 
enough  in  a  letter  from  her  sister  to  Miss  Bonham  Carter  : — 

EMBLEY,  October  [1847].  It  is  a  very  great  pleasure  to 
think  of  her  with  such  a  companion,  one  who,  she  says,  lives 
always  with  the  best  part  of  her ;  one  who  has  all  the  sense 
and  discretion  and  the  warm-hearted  sympathy  and  the  quick 
enjoyment  and  the  taste  and  the  affection  which  will  most  give 
her  happiness  ;  who  will  value  her  and  take  care  of  her,  and  do 


70  WINTER  IN  ROME  :    1847-8  PT.  i 

her  all  the  good  mentally  and  bodily  one  can  fancy.  Yes,  dear, 
God  is  very  good  to  provide  such  a  pleasant  time,  and  it  will 
rest  her  mind,  I  think,  entirely  from  wearing  thoughts  that  all 
men  have  at  home  when  their  duties  weigh  much  on  their 
consciences,  while  she  will  feel  she  is  wasting  nothing ;  for  Mrs. 
Bracebridge  has  not  been  at  all  well  and  Flo  will  feel  herself  a 
comfort  and  a  help  to  her,  I  hope,  for  I  know  she  is  a  great 
one.  .  .  .  Though  it  is  but  for  so  short  a  time,  yet  it  seems  to 
me  a  great  event,  the  solemn  first  launching  her  into  life,  and 
my  heart  is  very  full  of  many  feelings,  but  yet  the  joy  is  greatest 
by  an  incalculable  deal,  for  one  does  not  see  how  harm  can  come 
to  her.  Yet  when  one  loves  a  great  deal,  one  cannot  but  be  a 
little  anxious.  ...  It  is  so  pretty  to  see  Papa  wandering  over 
the  big  map  of  Rome  remembering  every  corner,  and  Mama 
over  Piranesi,  and  both  over  all  the  fair  things  that  dwell  there 
as  tho'  they  had  just  left  them. 

And  Florence  herself  did  find  comfort  and  pleasure  in 
the  tour  ;  but  it  was  destined  not  to  divert,  but  to  strengthen, 
her  purpose,  as  also  to  lay  a  train  of  circumstances  which 
was  to  lead  her  to  the  Crimea. 

Florence  and  her  companions  reached  Paris  on  October 
27,  took  ship  at  Marseilles  for  Civita  Vecchia,  and  stayed  in 
Rome — in  the  Via  S.  Bastinello  (No.  8) — from  the  beginning 
of  November  till  March  29,  1848.  Florence  entered  heartily 
into  all  the  pursuits  and  occupations  of  elegant  tourists  in 
Rome.  She  studied  the  ruins  ;  explored  the  catacombs  ; 
copied  inscriptions  ;  visited  the  churches  and  galleries  ; 
spent  a  morning  in  Gibson's  studio  and  another  in  Over- 
beck's  ;  collected  plants  in  the  Colosseum  ;  rode  in  the 
Campagna,  and  bought  brooches,  mosaics,  and  Roman 
pearls.  Her  father  had  drawn  out  a  programme  of  famous 
sights  and  pretty  walks  and  drives ;  and  the  methodical 
Florence  duly  ticked  them  off  on  the  list.  She  read  her  own 
thoughts  and  aspirations  into  many  of  the  works  of  art. 
She  greatly  admired  the  Apollo  Belvedere,  seeing  in  it  the 
type  of  triumphant  Free  Will.  "  We  can  never  lose  the 
recollection  of  our  poor  selves  while  we  still  do  things  with 
difficulty,  while  we  are  still  uncertain  whether  we  shall 
succeed  or  not.  The  triumph  of  success  may  be  great  and 


delightful,  but  the  divine  life — eternal  life — is  when  to  will 
is  to  do,  when  the  will  is  the  same  thing  as  the  act,  and 
therefore  the  act  is  unconscious."  Of  the  Jupiter  of  the 
Capitol,  again,  she  says  :  "  Jupiter  is  that  perfect  grace  in 
power  where  the  divine  Will,  pure  from  exertion,  speaks,  and 
It  is  done."  But  what  chiefly  interested  her,  what  really 
impressed  her  mind  and  stimulated  her  imagination,  was 
the  genius  of  Michael  Angelo  : — 

(To  her  Sister.)  December  17  [1847].  Oh,  my  dearest,  I 
have  had  such  a  day — my  red  Dominical,  my  Golden  Letter, 
the  i5th  of  December  is  its  name,  and  of  all  my  days  in  Rome 
this  has  been  the  most  happy  and  glorious.  Think  of  a  day 
alone  in  the  Sistine  Chapel  with  S  [Selina,  Mrs.  Bracebridge], 
quite  alone,  without  custode,  without  visitors,  looking  up  into 
that  heaven  of  angels  and  prophets.  ...  I  did  not  think  that 
I  was  looking  at  pictures,  but  straight  into  Heaven  itself,  and 
that  the  faults  of  the  representation  and  the  blackening  of  the 
colours  were  the  dimness  of  my  own  earthly  vision,  which  would 
only  allow  me  to  see  obscurely,  indistinctly,  what  was  there 
in  all  its  glory  to  be  known  even  as  I  was  known,  if  mortal  eyes 
and  understandings  were  cleared  from  the  mists  which  we  have 
wilfully  thrown  around  them.  There  is  Daniel,  opening  his 
windows  and  praying  to  the  God  of  his  Fathers  three  times  a  day 
in  defiance  of  fear.  You  see  that  young  and  noble  head  like 
an  eagle's,  disdaining  danger,  those  glorious  eyes  undazzled  by 
all  the  honours  of  Babylon.  Then  comes  Isaiah,  but  he  is  so 
divine  that  there  is  nothing  but  his  own  53rd  chapter  will  describe 
him.  He  is  the  Isaiah,  the  "  grosse  Unbekannte  "  of  the  Comfort 
ye,  Comfort  ye  my  people.  I  was  rather  startled  at  first  by 
finding  him  so  young,  which  was  not  my  idea  of  him  at  all, 
while  the  others  are  old.  But  M.  Angelo  knew  him  better ; 
it  is  the  perpetual  youth  of  inspiration,  the  vigour  and  freshness, 
ever  new,  ever  living,  of  that  eternal  spring  of  thought  which 
is  typed  under  that  youthful  face.  Genius  has  no  age,  while 
mind  (Zechariah)  has  no  youth.  Next  to  Isaiah  comes  the 
Delphic  Sibyl,  the  most  beautiful,  the  most  inspired  of  all  the 
Sibyls  here ;  but  the  distinction  which  M.  Angelo  has  drawn 
even  between  her  and  the  Prophets  is  so  interesting.  There  is 
a  security  of  inspiration  about  Isaiah  ;  he  is  listening  and  he  is 
speaking  ;  "  that  which  we  hear  we  declare  unto  you."  There  is 
an  anxiety,  an  effort  to  hear  even,  about  the  Delphian  ;  she  is 
not  quite  sure  ;  there  is  an  uncertainty,  a  wistfulness  in  her 
eyes  ;  she  expects  to  be  rewarded  rather  in  another  stage  than 
this  for  her  struggle  to  gain  the  prize  of  her  high  calling,  to  reach 


to  the  Unknown  that  Isaiah  knows  already.  There  is  no  un- 
certainty as  to  her  feeling  of  being  called  to  hear  the  voice,  but 
she  fears  that  her  earthly  ears  are  heavy  and  gross,  and  corrupt 
the  meaning  of  the  heavenly  words.  I  cannot  tell  you  how 
affecting  this  anxious  look  of  her  far-reaching  eyes  is  to  the 
poor  mortals  standing  on  the  pavement  below,  while  the  Prophets 
ride  secure  on  the  storm  of  Inspiration.  ...  I  feel  these  things 
to  be  part  of  the  word  of  God,  of  the  ladder  to  Heaven.  The 
word  of  God  is  all  by  which  He  reveals  His  thought,  all  by 
which  He  makes  a  manifestation  of  Himself  to  men.  It  is 
not  to  be  narrowed  and  confined  to  one  book,  or  one  nation  ; 
and  no  one  can  have  seen  the  Sistine  without  feeling  that  he 
has  been  very  near  to  God,  that  he  will  understand  some  of  His 
words  better  for  ever  after ;  and  that  Michael  Angelo,  one  of 
the  greatest  of  the  sons  of  men,  when  one  looks  at  the  dome 
of  St.  Peter's  on  the  one  hand  and  the  prophets  and  martyrs 
on  the  other,  has  received  as  much  of  the  breath  of  God,  and 
has  done  as  much  to  communicate  it  to  men,  as  any  Seer  of  old. 
He  has  performed  that  wonderful  miracle  of  giving  form  to  the 
breath  of  God,  wonderful  whether  it  is  done  by  words,  colours, 
or  hard  stones.  .  .  . 

The  thoughts  and  emotions  which  have  been  suggested 
by  the  contemplation  of  the  vault  of  the  Sistine  Chapel  are 
countless.  None  are  more  enthusiastic  than  those  which  it 
inspired  in  Florence  Nightingale,  and  few  have  been  so 
discriminating.  It  is  at  once  the  privilege  and  a  mark  of 
consummate  works  of  art  to  be  capable  of  as  many  meanings 
as  they  may  find  of  competent  spectators.  Each  man  brings 
to  the  study  of  them  the  insight  of  which  he  is  capable  ;  and 
each,  perchance,  finds  in  them  some  image  of  himself  or  of 
his  own  experience.  "  There  are  few  moments,  most  prob- 
ably," Florence  Nightingale  went  on  to  say,  "  which  we 
shall  carry  with  us  through  the  gate  of  Death,  few  recollec- 
tions which  will  stand  the  Eternal  Light."  She  felt  as  she 
came  out  of  the  Sistine  Chapel  that  her  first  sight  of  Michael 
Angelo' s  stupendous  work  would  be  one  of  those  few  for 
her.  We  may  surmise  that  the  wistful  uncertainty  which 
she  found  in  the  face  of  the  Delphic  Sibyl  had  especially 
appealed  to  her  in  its  truth  to  life  as  she  had  experienced  it ; 
conscious  as  she  was  of  a  call  from  God,  conscious  also  as 
she  could  not  but  have  been  of  great  powers,  and  yet  doubt- 
ful whether  on  this  side  of  the  gate  of  Death  it  would  be 


given  to  her  to  interpret  the  Divine  voice  aright.  She 
retained  to  the  end  of  her  life  the  same  reverential  feeling 
for  Michael  Angelo.  She  had  photographs  and  engravings 
of  the  Sistine  ceiling  hanging  in  her  rooms,  and  she  sent 
some  framed  and  inscribed  photographs  of  the  symbolical 
figures  on  the  Medici  tombs  to  hang  at  Embley  on  the  little 
private  staircase,  where  her  father  fell  and  died.  Those  at 
her  home  were  bequeathed  specifically  in  her  Will. 

The  afternoon  of  the  day  on  which  the  revelation  of  the 
Sistine  Chapel  came  to  her  was  spent  by  Florence  and  her 
friend  in  walking  up  the  Monte  Mario,  to  enjoy  the  famous 
view  from  the  Villa  Mellini,  not  then,  as  now,  included 
within  a  fort : — 

"We  spent  an  exquisite  half-hour,"  she  wrote,  "mooning, 
or  rather  sunning  about ;  the  whole  Campagna  and  city  lying 
at  our  feet,  the  sea  on  one  side  like  a  golden  laver  below  the 
declining  sun,  the  windings  of  the  Tiber  and  the  hills  of  Lucretilis 
on  the  other,  with  Frascati,  Tivoli,  Tusculum  on  their  cypress 
sides,  for  in  that  clear  atmosphere  you  could  see  the  very  cypresses 
of  Maecenas'  villa  at  Tivoli ;  with  long  stripes  of  violet  and 
pomegranate  coloured  light  sweeping  over  the  plain  like  waves ; 
one  stone  pine  upon  the  edge  of  our  Mellini  hill ;  and  Rome, 
the  fallen  Babylon,  like  a  dead  city  beneath,  no  sound  of  multi- 
tudes ascending,  but  the  only  life  these  great  crimson  lights 
and  shadows  (for  here  the  shadow  of  a  red  light  is  violet)  like 
the  carnation-coloured  wings  of  angels,  themselves  invisible, 
napping  over  the  plain  and  leaving  this  place  behind  them. 
We  rushed  down  as  fast  as  we  could  for  the  sun  was  setting,  and 
we  reached  St.  Peter's  just  as  the  doors  were  going  to  close. 
We  had  the  great  Church  all  to  ourselves,  the  tomb  of  St.  Peter 
wreathed  with  lights.  It  felt  like  the  times  when  a  Christian 
knight  watched  by  his  arms  before  some  great  enterprise  at 
the  Holy  Sepulchre  ;  and  one  shadowy  white  angel  we  could 
see  through  the  windows  over  the  great  door ;  and  do  you 
know  he  quite  made  us  start  as  he  stood  there  in  the  gloaming. 
Of  course  it  was  the  marble  statue  on  the  fa9ade  ;  and  there 
were  workmen  still  laughing  and  talking  at  the  extreme  end, 
and  their  sounds,  as  they  were  repeated  under  the  long  vaults, 
were  like  the  gibbering  of  devils,  and  their  lanthorns,  as  they 
wavered  along  close  to  the  ground,  were  like  corpse-lights.  I 
thought  of  St.  Anthony  and  holy  knights  and  their  temptations. 
And  at  last  the  Sacristan  took  us  out  of  that  vast  solemn  dome 
through  a  tomb  I  and  we  glided  into  the  silvery  moonlight,  and 
walked  home  over  Ponte  St.  Angelo,  where  I  made  a  little 


invocation  to  St.  Michael  to  help  me  to  thank ;  for  why  the 
Protestants  should  shut  themselves  out,  in  solitary  pride,  from 
the  Communion  of  Saints  in  heaven  and  in  earth,  I  never  could 
understand.  And  so  ended  this  glorious  day." 

The  obsession  of  Rome,  which  sooner  or  later  comes  upon 
every  intelligent  visitor  to  the  Eternal  City,  dated  in  the 
case  of  Florence  Nightingale  from  this  golden-letter  day. 
She  surmounted  the  sense  of  confusion  which  sometimes 
oppresses  the  traveller.  "  I  do  not  feel,"  she  wrote,  "  though 
Pagan  in  the  morning,  Jew  in  the  afternoon,  and  Christian  in 
the  evening,  anything  but  a  unity  of  interest  in  all  these 
representations.  To  know  God  we  must  study  Him  as  much 
in  the  Pagan  and  Jewish  dispensations  as  in  the  Christian 
(though  that  is  the  last  and  most  perfect  manifestation) ,  and 
this  gives  unity  to  the  whole — one  continuous  thread  of 
interest  to  all  these  pearls." 


The  politics  of  modern  Italy  interested  her  no  less  than 
the  ruins  of  ancient  Rome  or  the  monuments  of  mediaeval 
art.  She  had  met  many  Italian  refugees,  both  at  Geneva 
and  in  the  salon  of  Madame  Mohl  in  Paris,  and  was  a  whole- 
hearted enthusiast  in  the  cause  of  Italian  freedom.  Her 
present  visit  to  Rome  synchronized  with  that  curious  and 
short-lived  episode  in  the  struggle  during  which  Pio  Nono 
was  playing  "  the  ineffectual  tragedy  of  Liberal  Catholicism." 
All  Rome  seemed  seized  with  sympathy  for  the  cities  beyond 
the  Papal  states,  which  were  fighting  for  liberty,  and  within 
the  states  themselves  Pio  Nono's  offerings  of  mild  benevol- 
ence sufficed  to  call  forth  "  floods  of  ecstatic,  demonstrative 
Italian  humanity,  torchlight  processions,  and  crowds  kneel- 
ing at  his  feet."  l  Miss  Nightingale  saw  the  Roman  nobles, 
Prince  Corsini,  Prince  Gaetano,  and  others,  presiding  at 
"  patriotic  altars,"  which  had  been  set  up  in  the  public 
squares  for  the  receipt  of  gifts  in  money  and  in  jewellery. 
She  heard  the  famous  Father  Gavazzi  preach  the  crusade 
in  the  Colosseum.  She  cheered  as  the  Tricolor  of  Italy  was 
hoisted  on  the  Capitol.  "  I  certainly  was  born,"  she  wrote 

1  G.  M.  Trevelyan,  Garibaldi's  Defence  of  the  Roman  Republic,  p.  65. 


to  her  cousin  Hilary,  "to  be  a  tag-rag-and-bob-tail,  for 
when  I  hear  of  a  popular  demonstration,  I  am  nothing  better 
than  a  ragamuffin."  She  heard  the  rumble  of  a  distant  drum, 
and  rushed  up  for  Mr.  Bracebridge,  and  he  and  she  broke 
their  own  windows  because  they  were  not  illuminated  ; 
stayed  to  see  the  torchlight  procession  of  patriots  singing 
the  hymn  to  Pio  Nono,  and  were  rewarded  by  the  crowd 
crying  "  God  save  the  Queen,"  as  they  passed  the  English 
"  milord  "  and  his  companion.  "  Very  touching,"  she  said  ; 
"  though  royalty  was  the  very  last  thing  I  was  thinking  of  "  ; 
for  at  this  time,  as  she  often  avowed  in  her  letters,  her 
sympathies  were  Republican.  "  When  this  memorable 
year  began  with  all  its  revolutions,"  she  wrote  later  to 
Madame  Mohl,  after  disillusion  had  come  (June  27),  "I 
thought  that  it  was  the  Kingdom  of  Heaven  coming  under 
the  fate  of  a  Republic.  But  alas  !  things  have  shown  that 
more  of  us  must  slowly  ripen  to  angels  here,  before  the 
regime  of  the  angels,  i.e.  the  Kingdom  of  Heaven,  will  begin." 
But  for  the  moment  everything  seemed  radiant.  She 
recorded  with  pleasure  in  February  that  a  deputation  of 
Romans  had  gone  up  to  the  Pope  to  express  their  "  complete 
confidence  in  him."  In  her  note-books  she  collected  par- 
ticulars of  his  life  and  character  ;  and  when  in  March  he 
granted  what  can  only  be  called  a  sort  of  a  Constitution,  she 
wrote  to  Madame  Mohl :  "  My  dear  Santo  Padre  seems 
doing  very  well.  He  has  given  up  his  Temporal  Power. 
No  man  took  it  from  him  ;  he  laid  it  down  of  himself.  I 
think  that  he  will  reign  in  history  as  the  only  prince  who 
ever  did,  and  that  his  character  is  nearer  Christ's  than  any 
I  ever  heard  of."  History  will  hardly  confirm  this  saying  ; 
but  if  Miss  Nightingale's  words  seem  ill-balanced  in  the  light 
of  subsequent  events,  let  it  be  remembered  that,  as  Mr. 
Trevelyan  says,  "  the  cult  of  Pio  Nono  was  for  some  months 
the  religion  of  Italy,  and  of  Liberals  and  exiles  all  over  the 
world.  Even  Garibaldi  in  Monte  Video,  and  Mazzini  in 
London,  shared  the  enthusiasm  of  the  hour."  A  year  later, 
when  the  Roman  Republic  had  been  declared  and  the  Pope 
had  fled,  and  the  French  troops  besieged  Rome  on  his  be- 
half, Miss  Nightingale  had  only  pity  for  Pio  Nono  ;  her 
anger  she  reserved  for  the  French  "  cannibals,"  for  the  one 


Republic  that  was  devouring  another.  "  I  must  exhale  my 
rage  and  indignation,"  she  wrote  in  a  diary  (June  30,  1849), 
"  before  I  have  lost  all  notions  of  absolute  right  and  wrong. 
It  makes  my  heart  bleed  that  the  French  nation,  the  nation 
above  all  others  capable  of  an  ideal,  of  aspiring  after  the 
abstract  right,  should  have  lent  itself  to  such  a  brutal  crime 
against  its  own  brother — one  may  say  its  own  offspring, 
for  the  Roman  Republic  sprang  from  the  French  ;  it  is 
purest  cannibalism  ;  this  breaks  my  heart.  When  I  think 
of  that  afternoon  at  Villa  Mellini  (now  occupied  by  a  French 
general) ,  of  Rome,  bathed  in  her  crimson  and  purple  shadows, 
lying  at  our  feet,  and  St.  Michael  spreading  his  wings  over 
all — the  Angel  of  Regeneration  as  we  thought  him  then— 
my  eyes  fill  with  tears.  But  he  will  be  the  Angel  of  Re- 
generation yet."  The  French,  she  said,  might  reduce  the 
city  and  occupy  it ;  but  the  heroic  defence  of  the  Republic 
"  will  have  raised  the  Romans  in  the  moral  scale,  and  in  their 
own  esteem."  They  would  never  sink  back  to  what  they 
had  been.  Sooner  or  later,  Rome  would  be  free.  She  was 
especially  indignant  at  the  talk  which  she  heard  on  all  sides 
in  cultivated •  society  at  home  about  the  "vandalism"  of 
the  Romans  in  exposing  their  precious  monuments  of  art 
to  assault.  She  loved  those  monuments,  as  we  have  seen  ; 
but  if  the  defence  of  Rome  against  the  French  required  it, 
she  would  have  been  ready  to  see  them  all  levelled  to  the 
ground.  "  They  must  carry  out  their  defence  to  the  last," 
she  cried.  "  I  should  like  to  see  them  fight  the  streets, 
inch  by  inch,  till  the  last  man  dies  at  his  barricade,  till 
St.  Peter's  is  level  with  the  ground,  till  the  Vatican  is  blown 
into  the  air.  Then  would  this  be  the  last  of  such  brutal, 
not  house-breakings,  but  city-breakings ;  then,  and  not  till 
then,  would  Europe  do  justice  to  France  as  a  thief  and  a 
murderer,  and  a  similar  crime  be  rendered  impossible  for 
all  ages.  If  I  were  in  Rome,  I  should  be  the  first  to  fire  the 
Sistine,  turning  my  head  aside,  and  Michael  Angelo  would 
cry,  '  Well  done/  as  he  saw  his  work  destroyed."  It  was 
not  only  in  relation  to  the  restraints  of  conventional  domes- 
ticity that  Florence  Nightingale  was  a  rebel. 



During  her  own  stay  in  Rome,  however,  there  was  some- 
thing which  interested  her  more  than  Roman  politics  or 
Roman  monuments.  It  was  the  philanthropic  work  of  a 
Convent  School.  Every  visitor  to  Rome  knows  the  Trinita 
de'  Monti.  The  flight  of  steps  between  the  church  and  the 
Piazza  di  Spagna  is  celebrated  alike  for  its  own  beauty 
and  for  the  flower-girls  and  women  in  peasant-costume 
who  frequent  it.  The  church  itself  contains  many  fine 
works  of  art,  and  the  choral  service  is  one  of  the  attrac- 
tions of  ecclesiastical  Rome.  The  neighbourhood  is  rich  in 
artistic  and  literary  associations.  Florence  Nightingale  had 
sympathetic  eyes  and  ears  for  all  these  things ;  but  what 
attracted  her  most  was  the  convent  attached  to  the  church, 
with  its  school  for  girls,  and  (in  another  part  of  the  city)  its 
orphanage.  She  was  broad-minded,  as  we  have  seen  in  an 
earlier  chapter,  in  relation  to  church  creeds.  It  was  by 
works,  not  faith,  or  at  any  rate  by  faith  issuing  in  works, 
that  she  weighed  the  churches.  It  was  characteristic  of 
the  thoroughness  of  her  mental  character  that  during  this 
sojourn  in  Rome  she  made  a  methodical  study  of  Roman 
doctrine  and  ritual.  Among  her  papers  and  note-books 
belonging  to  this  time,  there  are  careful  analyses  of  the 
theory  of  Indulgence,  of  the  Real  Presence,  of  the  Rosary, 
and  so  forth.  She  made,  too,  a  careful  collation  of  the 
Latin  Breviary  with  the  English  Prayer-Book.  She  summed 
up  her  comparative  study  of  the  churches  in  this  generaliza- 
tion :  "  The  great  merit  of  the  Catholic  Church  :  its  assertion 
of  the  truth  that  God  still  inspires  mankind  as  much  as  ever. 
Its  great  fault :  its  limiting  this  inspiration  to  itself.  The 
great  merit  of  Protestantism  :  its  proclamation  of  freedom 
of  conscience  within  the  limits  of  the  Scriptures.  Its  great 
fault :  its  erection  of  the  Bible  into  a  master  of  the  soul." 
Her  deep  sense  of  the  self-responsibility  of  every  human  soul 
kept  her  free  from  any  inclination  to  Roman  doctrine  ;  but 
she  was  profoundly  impressed  by  the  practical  beneficence 
of  Roman  sisterhoods.  An  example  of  such  beneficence 
she  found  in  the  school  and  orphanage  of  the  Dames 


du  Sacre  Coeur.     She  had  picked  up  a  poor  girl  called 
Felicetta  Sensi,  and  procured  her  admission  as  a  free  boarder, 
paying  for  her  care  and  education  for  many  years.     She 
formed  a  warm  attachment  to  the  Lady  Superior,  the  Madre 
Sta.  Colomba.     She   studied   the    organization,  rules,  and 
methods  of  the  large  school,  and  for  ten  days  she  went  into 
Retreat  in  the  Convent.1    Her  intercourse  with  the  Madre 
Sta.  Colomba,  of  whose  talk  and  spiritual  experiences  she 
made  full  and  detailed  notes,  made  a  very  deep  impression  on 
her  mind.     She  studied  rules  and  organization,  but,  as  in 
all  her  studies,  she  was  seeking  a  motive,  as  well  as,  and 
indeed  more  than,  a  method.     Many  years  later,  a  friend 
wrote  to  her  :    "It  seems  to  me  that  the  greatest  want 
among  nurses  is  devotion.     I  use  the  word  in  a  very  wide 
sense,  meaning  that  state  of  mind  in  which  the  current  of 
desire  is  flowing  towards  one  high  end.     This  does  not  pre- 
suppose knowledge,  but  it  very  soon  attains  it."  2    This  was 
a  profound  conviction  of  her  own,  often  expressed,  as  we 
shall  hear,  in  her  Addresses  and  Letters  of  Exhortation  in 
later  years.     What  she  set  herself  to  study  at  the  Trinita  de' 
Monti  was  the  secret  of  devotion.      She  made  notes  of  the 
Lady  Superior's  exhortations  ;    of  the  spiritual  exercises 
which  were  enjoined  upon  novices  ;    of  the  forms  and  dis- 
cipline   of   self-examination.     She   sought    to   extract    the 
secret,  and  to  apply  it  to  the  inculcation  of  the  highest 
kind  of  service  to  man  as  the  service  of  God.     For  many 
years  the  thought  in  her  mind  was  to  be  the  foundation 
of    some    distinctive   order    or    sisterhood ;     and    though 
in  the  end  she  came  to  be  glad  that  she  had  not  done 
this,  she  never  abandoned  the  high  ideal  which  was  behind 
her  thought.     Nor,  though  in  some  ways  and  in  some  cases 
she  came  to  be  disillusioned  about  nursing  sisterhoods,  did 
she  ever  cease  to  speak  with  admiration  of  what  she  had 
seen  and  learnt  in  some  of  them.     She  thought  more  often, 
and  with  more  affectionate  remembrance,  about  the  spirit 

1  The  Convent  was  giving  hospitality  at  this  time  to  the  Abbess  of 
Minsk   (in  Lithuania),   whose  persecution  by  the   Russian  Government 
formed   the   subject  of   much   debate.     Miss   Nightingale  wrote   a   long 
account  of  the  extraordinary  adventures  which  the  Abbess  related  to  her. 
She  was  advised  in  1853  to  print  this,  but  I  cannot  find  that  she  did  so. 

2  Letter  from  R.  Angus  Smith,  July  7,  1859. 


of  the  best  Catholic  sisterhoods  than  of  Kaiserswerth,  or 
indeed  of  anything  else  in  her  professional  experience. 

In  such  studies  upon  the  Trinita  de'  Monti  in  the  winter 
of  1847-48,  she  was  taken,  as  she  said  in  a  note  of  self- 
examination,  out  of  all  interests  that  fostered  her  "  vanity  "  ; 
it  was  her  "  happiest  New  Year."  "  The  most  entire  and 
unbroken  freedom  from  dreaming  I  ever  had,"  she  wrote 
at  a  later  time.  "  Oh,  how  happy  I  was  !  "  And  so  again, 
looking  back  after  twenty  years,  she  wrote :  "I  never  en- 
joyed any  time  in  my  life  so  much  as  my  time  at  Rome."  l 


Another  incident  of  Miss  Nightingale's  sojourn  in  Rome 
was  destined,  though  she  knew  it  not  at  the  time,  to  have  a 
far-reaching  influence  upon  her  career.  Among  the  English 
visitors  who  spent  the  winter  of  1847-48  in  Rome  were  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Sidney  Herbert.  Mr.  Herbert  had  already  been 
Secretary  at  War  under  Peel,  a  post  to  which  he  was  after- 
wards to  return  under  Aberdeen.  The  resignation  of  Peel's 
Cabinet  in  1846  released  Mr.  Herbert  from  official  work. 
Later  in  the  year  he  married  a  lady  with  whom  he  had 
been  long  acquainted,  Elizabeth  a  Court,  daughter  of 
General  Charles  Ashe  a  Court ;  and  in  the  following  year  he 
and  his  wife  set  out  for  a  long  Continental  tour.  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Bracebridge  were  friends  of  the  Herberts,  and  thus 
Florence  Nightingale  made  their  acquaintance  in  Rome. 
In  her  retrospect  she  specially  recalled  the  beginning  there 
of  her  friendship  with  Sidney  Herbert  "  under  the  dear 
Bracebridges'  wing."  Compatriots  who  meet  in  this  way 
in  any  foreign  resort  are  apt  to  see  a  good  deal  of 
each  other,  and  from  this  winter  dates  the  beginning 
of  a  friendship  which  was  to  be  a  governing  factor  in 
the  life  of  Florence  Nightingale.  Sidney  Herbert,  when 
they  met  in  galleries  or  at  soirees,  or  rode  together  in 
the  Campagna,  must  have  been  struck  by  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's marked  abilities,  and  for  Mrs.  Herbert  she  formed 
an  affectionate  attachment.  She  noted  "  the  great  kind- 
ness, the  desire  of  love,  the  magnanimous  generosity " 

1  Letter  to  M.  Mohl,  Nov.  21,  1869. 

8o         LORD  ASHLEY  AND  THE  CHARTISTS        PT.  i 

of  her  new  friend.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Herbert  saw  much  of 
Archdeacon  Manning  (the  future  cardinal),  who  was  also 
spending  the  winter  in  Rome,  and  Miss  Nightingale  was  on 
friendly  terms  with  him.1  This  also  was  an  acquaintance 
which  had  some  influence  on  her  future  career.  Sidney 
Herbert,  aided  by  the  ready  sympathy  of  his  wife,  was 
devoting  much  thought,  now  liberated  from  official  duties, 
to  schemes  of  benevolence  among  the  poor  on  his  estates. 
"  He  felt  strongly  the  disadvantage  at  which  the  poor  were 
placed  in  being  compelled  after  illness,  and  perhaps  after 
undergoing  painful  operations,  to  return  in  the  earliest 
stage  of  convalescence,  without  rest  or  change,  to  their 
accustomed  labour."  2  He  was  full  of  a  scheme  for  a  Con- 
valescent Home  and  Cottage  Hospital  (such  as  is  now  no 
rarity,  but  was  then  almost  unknown) ,  and  it  can  be  imagined 
with  what  zest  Miss  Nightingale  shared  his  thoughts.  One 
of  the  first  things  which  she  records  in  her  diary  after  return 
from  the  Continent  is  "an  expedition  with  Mrs.  Sidney 
Herbert  to  set  up  her  Convalescent  Home  at  Charmouth  "  ; 
but  this  was  only  a  passing  incident,  and  return  to  the 
habitual  home  life,  after  the  distraction  of  foreign  travel, 
left  her  no  more  contented  than  before. 

On  her  return  to  London  in  the  early  summer  of  1848 
she  sent  her  friends  occasionally  the  talk  of  the  town  :— 

(To  Madame  Mohl.)  July  26  [1848].  In  London  there  have 
been  the  usual  amount  of  Charity  Balls,  Charity  Concerts, 
Charity  Bazaars,  whereby  people  bamboozle  their  consciences 
and  shut  their  eyes.  Nevertheless  there  does  not  seem  the 
slightest  prospect  of  a  revolution  here.  Why,  would  be  hard  to 
say,  as  England  is  surely  the  country  where  luxury  has  reached 
its  height  and  poverty  its  depth.  Perhaps  it  is  our  Poor  Law, 
perhaps  the  strength  of  our  Middle  Class,  perhaps  a  greater  degree 
of  sympathy  between  the  rich  and  poor,  which  is  the  conservative 
principle.  Lord  Ashley  had  a  Chartist  deputation  with  him  the 
other  day,  who  stayed  to  tea  and  talked  with  him  for  five  hours. 
"  That  a  man  should  ride  in  a  carriage  and  have  twenty  thou- 
sand a  year  is  contrary  to  the  laws  of  Nature/'  said  their  leader, 
and  slapped  his  leg.  "  I  could  show  you,  if  you  would  go  with 
me  to-night,"  said  Lord  Ashley,  "  people  who  would  say  to  you, 

1  Purcell's  Life  of  Manning,  vol.  i.  p.  362. 
2  Sidney  Herbert :  a  Memoir,  by  Lord  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  pp.  97-98, 


that  a  man  should  go  in  broadcloth  and  wear  a  shirt-pin  (pointing 
to  the  Chartist's  shirt)  is  contrary  to  the  laws  of  Nature."  The 
Chartist  was  silent.  "  And  it  was  the  only  thing  I  said/'  says 
Lord  Ashley,  "  after  arguing  with  them  for  five  hours  which 
made  the  least  impression." 

Her  acquaintance  with  Lord  Ashley  (afterwards  Lord 
Shaft esbury)  brought  her  in  touch  with  Ragged  School  work. 
But    society   grew    more    and    more    distasteful    to    Miss 
Nightingale.     She  explained  the  reasons  in  a  letter  to  her 
"  Aunt  Hannah."     Why  could  she  not  smile  and  be  gay, 
while  yet  biding  her  time  and  not  forsaking  her  ultimate 
ideals  ?     It  was,  she  said,  because  she  "  hated  God  to  hear 
her  laugh,  as  if  she  had  not  repented  of  her  sin."     There  is 
something  obviously  morbid  in  such  words,  and  they  might 
be  multiplied  indefinitely,  if   there  were   good  reason  for 
doing  so,  from  her  letters,  diaries,  and  note-books.     The  sins 
of  which  she  most  often  convicted  herself  were  "  hypocrisy  " 
and   "  vanity."     She  prayed  to  be  delivered  from   "  the 
desire  of  producing  an  effect."     That  was  the  "  vanity  "  ; 
and  it  was  "  hypocrisy,"  because  she  was  playing  a  part, 
responding  to  friends'  conception  of  her,  though  all  the  while 
her  heart  was  really  set  on  other  things,  and  her  true  life 
was  being  lived  elsewhere.     The  morbidness  was  a  symptom 
of  a  mind  at  war  with  its  surroundings.    Then  again  the 
kind  "Aunt  "  reminded  her,  in  the  spirit  of  George  Herbert, 
that  anything  and  everything  may  be  done  "  to  the  glory 
of  God."     But  Miss  Nightingale  at  this  time  was  deep  in  the 
study  of  political  economy ;    and  "  can  it  be  to  the  glory 
of  God,"  she  asked,  "  when  there  is  so  much  misery  among 
the  poor,  which  we  might  be  curing  instead  of  living  in 
luxury  ?  " 

In  the  autumn  of  1848  an  opportunity  occurred  which 
promised  the  realization  of  the  dearest  wish  of  her  heart, 
but  once  more  she  was  doomed  to  disappointment.  Her 
mother  and  sister  had  been  advised  to  go  to  Carlsbad  for 
the  cure.  M.  and  Madame  Mohl  were  to  be  at  Frankfurt, 
and  they  were  all  to  meet  in  that  city.  Frankfurt  is  near 

VOL.  I  G 


to  Kaiserswerth,  and  Florence  was  to  be  allowed  to  go  there. 
But  at  the  very  moment  disturbances  broke  out  in  Frank- 
furt, and  the  whole  plan  was  abandoned.  "  I  am  not  going 
to  consign  to  paper  for  your  benefit,"  she  wrote  to  Madame 
Mohl  (October  1848),  "  all  the  cursings  and  swearings  which 
relieved  my  disappointed  feelings  ;  for  oh  !  what  a  plan  of 
plans  I  had  made  out  for  myself  !  All  that  I  most  wanted 
to  do  at  Kaiserswerth,  Brussels,  and  Co.,  lay  for  the  first 
time  within  reach  of  my  mouth,  and  the  ripe  plum  has 
dropped."  Florence  accompanied  her  mother  to  the  cure 
at  Malvern  instead,  where,  with  many  prayers  for  humility 
under  the  will  of  God,  she  lived  for  several  weeks  upon  the 
dry  and  bitter  fruit  of  disappointment.  During  the  winter 
of  1848-49  Miss  Nightingale  saw  something  of  M.  Guizot 
and  his  family.  The  Minister  had  escaped  to  London  after 
the  fall  of  Louis  Philippe,  and  was  living  in  a  modest  house 
in  Brompton.  He  found  in  Miss  Nightingale  "  a  brave 
and  sympathetic  soul,  for  whom  great  thoughts  and  great 
devotions  had  a  serious  attraction."  1 

During  the  next  year  she  found  some  congenial  work  in 
London.  She  inspected  hospitals.  She  worked  in  Ragged 
Schools.  She  spoke  of  her  "  little  thieves  at  Westminster  " 
as  her  "  greatest  joy  in  London."  But  these  unconventional 
attractions  of  the  London  season  set  her  all  the  more  against 
the  life  of  country  houses.  "  Ought  not  one's  externals," 
she  wrote  in  her  diary  (July  2,  1849),  "  to  ^e  as  nearly  as 
possible  an  incarnation  of  what  life  really  is  ?  Life  is  not 
a  green  pasture  and  a  still  water,  as  our  homes  make  it.  Life 
is  to  some  a  forty  days'  fasting,  moral  or  physical,  in  the 
wilderness ;  to  some  it  is  a  fainting  under  the  carrying  of 
the  crop  ;  to  some  it  is  a  crucifixion ;  to  all,  a  struggle  for 
truth,  for  safety.  Life  is  seen  in  a  much  truer  form  in 
London  than  in  the  country.  In  an  English  country  place 
everything  that  is  painful  is  so  carefully  removed  out  of 
sight,  behind  those  fine  trees,  to  a  village  three  miles  off. 
In  London,  at  all  events  if  you  open  your  eyes,  you  cannot 
help  seeing  in  the  next  street  that  life  is  not  as  it  has  been 
made  to  you.  You  cannot  get  out  of  a  carriage  at  a  party 

1  See  the  "  Lettre  de  M.  Guizot"  prefixed  to  the  French  translation  of 
Notes  on  Nursing  (1862^. 


without  seeing  what  is  in  the  faces  making  the  lane  on 
either  side,  and  without  feeling  tempted  to  rush  back  and 
say,  '  Those  are  my  brothers  and  sisters.'  '  She  longed  to 
rush  back,  to  be  able  to  go  out  freely  into  the  slums,  to 
comfort  some  old  woman  who  was  dying  unattended,  or 
rescue  some  child  who  was  going  astray  untaught.  But 
the  proprieties  prevented.  "  It  would  never  do,"  she  was 
told,  "  for  a  young  woman  in  her  station  in  life  to  go  out 
in  London  without  a  servant."  In  the  autumn  of  1849  *ne 
distraction  of  another  foreign  tour  was  offered.  Her  parents 
and  her  sister  hoped  once  more  that  Florence  would  return 
a  different  and  a  more  comfortable  woman.  Those  with 
whom  we  are  cast  into  the  nearest  intimacy  sometimes 
understand  us  least. 



When  o'er  the  world  we  range 
'Tis  but  our  climate,  not  our  mind,  we  change. 


IN  the  autumn  of  1849  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  who  were 
to  spend  some  months  in  the  East,  again  proposed  that 
Miss  Nightingale  should  travel  with  them,  and  again  the 
offer  was  gladly  accepted.  Her  sister  was  delighted.  The 
expedition  to  Rome  had  not  done  what  was  hoped,  but 
here  was  a  second  chance.  The  sister  reported  to  her  friends 
that  "  Flo  had  taken  tea  with  the  Bunsens  to  receive  the 
dernier  mot  on  Egyptology/*  and  that  she  was  going  out 
"  laden  with  learned  books."  Perhaps  Florence  would 
become  absorbed  in  such  studies,  and  adopt  a  life  of  grace- 
fully learned  leisure.  The  literary  temptation  did,  it  is 
true,  assail  Florence,  but  she  put  it  behind  her. 

The  party  started  in  October,  bound  for  Egypt,  where 
the  winter  was  to  be  spent.  Thence  they  were  to  proceed 
to  Athens,  where  Mr.  Bracebridge  had  property.  The 
return  journey  in  the  summer  of  1850  was  to  be  made 
through  Germany,  and  Kaiserswerth  was  to  be  visited. 
Florence,  we  may  surmise,  looked  forward  most  to  the  last 
stage  in  the  journey.  On  November  18  the  travellers  landed 
at  Alexandria.  On  the  27th  they  reached  Cairo.  On 
December  4  they  started  in  a  dahabiah  for  the  Nile  voyage. 
The  boat  was  christened  in  honour  of  Florence's  sister. 


CH.  vi  TOUR  IN  EGYPT  :    1849-50  85 

"  My  work,"  she  wrote,  "  is  making  the  pennant,  blue 
bunting  with  swallow  tail,  a  Latin  red  cross  upon  it,  and 
nAPOENOHH  in  white  tape.  It  has  taken  all  my  tape, 
and  a  vast  amount  of  stitches,  but  it  will  be  the  finest 
pennant  on  the  river,  and  my  petticoats  will  joyfully 
acknowledge  the  tribute  to  sisterly  affection,  for  sisterly 
affection  in  tape  in  Lower  Egypt,  let  me  observe,  is 
worth  having."  They  went  up  the  river  as  far  as  Ipsambul 
(Abu-Simbel),  a  little  below  Wady  Halfy ;  on  the  return 
journey  they  spent  several  days  at  Thebes.  The  letters 
which  Florence  sent  home  show  that  Egypt  appealed 
strongly  to  her  imagination.  What  struck  her  most  was 
the  solemnity  of  the  country.  "  Nothing  ever  laughs  or 
plays.  Everything  is  grown  up  and  grown  old."  The 
letters  are  full  too  of  Egyptology  ;  for  she  had  made  tables 
of  dynasties,  copied  plans  of  temples,  and  analysed  the 
leading  ideas  in  Egyptian  mythology  as  expounded  by  the 
best  writers  of  the  time  : — 

ABU-SIMBEL,  January  17  [1850].  ...  I  passed  through 
other  halls,  till  at  last  I  found  myself  in  a  chamber  in  the  rock, 
where  sat,  in  the  silence  of  an  eternal  night,  four  figures  against 
the  further  end.  I  could  see  nothing  more ;  yet  I  did  not  feel 
afraid  as  I  did  at  Karnak,  though  I  was  quite  alone  in  these 
subterranean  halls  ;  for  the  sublime  expression  of  that  judge 
of  the  dead  had  looked  down  on  me,  the  incarnation  of  the 
goodness  of  the  deity,  as  Osiris  is  ;  and  I  thought  how  beautiful 
the  idea  which  placed  him  in  the  foremost  hall,  and  then  led 
the  worshipper  gradually  on  to  the  more  awful  attributes  of 
the  deity ;  for  here,  as  I  could  dimly  see  through  the  darkness, 
sat  the  creative  power  of  the  mind— Neph,  "  the  intellect  "  ; 
Amun,  "  the  concealed  god  "  ;  Phthah,  "  the  creator  of  the 
visible  world  "  ;  and  Ra,  "  the  sustainer,"  Ra,  "  the  sun  "  to 
whom  the  temple  is  dedicated.  ...  I  turned  to  go  out,  and 
saw  at  the  further  end  the  golden  sand  glittering  in  the  sunshine 
outside  the  top  of  the  door ;  and  the  long  sand-hill,  sloping 
down  from  it  to  the  feet  of  the  innermost  Osirides,  which  are 
left  quite  free,  all  but  their  pedestals,  looked  like  the  waves  of 
time,  gradually  flowing  in  and  covering  up  these  imperishable 
genii,  who  have  seen  three  thousand  years  pass  over  their  heads 
and  heed  them  not.  In  the  holiest  place,  there  where  no  sound 
ever  reaches,  it  is  as  if  you  felt  the  sensible  progress  of  time, 
not  by  the  tick  of  a  clock,  as  we  measure  time,  but  by  some 
spiritual  pulse  which  marks  to  you  its  onward  march,  not  by 


its  second,  nor  its  minute,  nor  its  hour-hand,  but  by  its  century 
hand.  I  thought  of  the  worshippers  of  three  thousand  years 
ago  ;  how  they  by  this  time  have  reached  the  goal  of  spiritual 
ambition,  have  brought  all  their  thoughts  to  serve  God  or  the 
ideal  of  goodness  ;  how  we  stand  there  with  the  same  goal  before 
us,  only  as  distant  as  the  star,  which,  a  little  later,  I  saw  rising 
exactly  over  that  same  sand-hill  in  the  centre  of  the  top  of  the 
doorway,  but  as  sure  and  fixed ;  how  to  them  all  other  thoughts 
are  now  as  nothing,  and  the  ideal  we  all  pursue  of  happiness  is 
won  ;  not  because  they  have  not  probably  sufferings,  like  ours, 
but  because  they  no  longer  suggest  any  other  thought  but  of 
doing  God's  will,  which  is  happiness.  I  thought,  too,  three 
thousand  years  hence,  we  might  perhaps  have  attained — and 
others  would  stand  here,  and  still  those  old  gods  would  be  sitting 
in  the  eternal  twilight.  .  .  . 

THEBES,  February  10  [1850].  .  .  .  The  Valley  of  the  Kings 
seems,  though  within  a  mile  of  Thebes,  as  if  one  had  arrived  at 
the  mountains  of  Kaf,  beyond  which  are  only  "  creatures  un- 
known to  any  but  God," — so  deep  are  the  ravines,  so  high  and 
blue  the  sky,  so  absolutely  solitary  and  unearthly,  so  utterly 
uninhabitable  the  place.  One  look  at  that  valley  would  give 
you  more  idea  of  the  supernatural,  the  gate  of  Hades,  than  all 
the  descriptions,  sacred  or  profane.  What  a  moment  it  is,  the 
entering  that  valley,  where  in  those  rocky  caverns,  the  vastness 
and  the  gloomy  darkness  of  which  are  equally  awful,  the  kings 
of  the  earth  lie,  each  in  his  huge  sarcophagus,  with  the  bodies 
of  his  chiefs,  each  in  their  chamber,  about  him  ;  and  where, 
about  this  time,  they  are  to  return,  to  find  their  bodies  and 
resume  their  abode  on  earth, — if  purified  by  their  three  thousand 
years  of  probation,  in  a  higher  and  better  state ;  if  degraded, 
in  a  lower.  I  thought  I  met  them  at  every  turn  in  those  long 
subterraneous  galleries, — saw  their  shades  rising  from  their 
shattered  sarcophagi,  and  advancing  once  more  towards  the 
light  of  day,  which  shone  like  a  star,  so  distant  and  so  faint, 
at  the  end  of  that  opening ;  the  dead  were  stirred  up,  the  chief 
ones  of  the  earth.  .  .  .  Well,  these  Pharaohs  are  perhaps  now 
here,  again  in  the  body,  their  three  thousand  years  having  just 
elapsed  to  some  of  them, — that  is,  if  they  have  philosophized 
sincerely,  or,  together  with  philosophy,  have  "  loved  beautiful 
forms."  .  .  .  And  if  I  were  a  Pharaoh  now,  I  would  choose 
the  Arab  form,  and  come  back  to  help  these  poor  people  ;  and 
I  am  going  to-morrow  to  a  tomb  of  Rameses,  B.C.  1150,  to  meet 
him  and  tell  him  so.  ... 

It  was  no  wonder  that  Miss  Nightingale  pitied  the  poor 

CH.  vi        "  TO  HELP  THESE  POOR  PEOPLE  "  87 

people  ;  for  the  Egypt  in  which  she  travelled  was  as  Mehemet 
Ali,  the  Lion  of  the  Levant,  had  left  it.  She  saw  girls  sold 
in  the  open  slave  market  "  at  from  £2  to  fy  a  head."  She 
heard  how  justice  was  sold  to  the  highest  bidder ;  and 
"  everybody/'  she  noted,  "  seems  to  bastinado  everybody 
else."  "  Every  man,"  she  noted  further,  "  is  a  conscript 
for  the  army,  and  mothers  put  out  their  children's  right  eye 
to  save  them  from  conscription,  till  Mehemet  Ali,  who  was 
too  clever  for  them,  had  a  one-eyed  regiment,  who  carried 
the  musket  on  the  left  shoulder."  Miss  Nightingale  was 
fond  of  escaping  from  the  dahabiah  in  order  to  wander 
about  the  desert,  "  poking  my  own  nose,"  as  she  wrote  home, 
"  into  all  the  villages,"  and  seeing  for  herself  how  "  these 
poor  people  "  lived.  "  They  call  me  '  the  wild  ass  of  the 
wilderness,  snuffing  up  the  wind/  because  I  am  so  fond  of 
getting  away."  Egyptian  impressions  stayed  long  in  her 
memory,  and  they  recurred  to  her  thirty  years  later  in  con- 
nection with  her  Indian  studies.1  As  on  her  earlier  visit  to 
Rome,  so  now  in  Egypt  she  utilized  all  such  opportunities 
as  came  in  her  way  for  studying  the  work  of  religious  Sister- 
hoods. At  Alexandria  she  passed  her  days,  she  wrote, 
"  much  to  my  satisfaction,  as  I  had  travelled  with  two 
Sisters  of  St.  Vincent  de  Paul  from  Paris  to  Auxerre,  who 
gave  me  an  introduction  to  the  Sisters  here  ;  and  I  have 
spent  a  great  deal  of  time  with  them  in  their  beautiful 
schools  and  Misericorde.  There  are  only  19  of  them,  but 
they  seem  to  do  the  work  of  90." 


In  April  1850  Miss  Nightingale  went  with  her  friends  to 
Athens.  Their  house  was  in  Eucharis  Street,  and  Florence 
"  slept  in  the  library,  which  opens  on  to  a  terrace  looking 

1  E.g.  in  an  article  in  Good  Words,  August  1879 :  "  Whoever  in  the 
glorious  light  of  an  Egyptian  sunset — where  all  glows  with  colour,  not 
like  that  of  birds  and  flowers,  but  like  transparent  emeralds  and  sapphires 
and  rubies  and  amethysts,  the  gold  and  jewels  andjprecious  stones  of  the 
Revelations — has  seen  the  herds  wending^their  way  home  on  the  plain  of 
Thebes  by  the  colossal  pair  of  sitting  statues,  followed  by  the  stately  woman 
in  her  one  draped  garment,  plying  her  distaff,  a  naked,  lovely  little  brown 
child  riding  on  her  shoulder,  and  another  on  a  buffalo,  can  conjure  up 
something  of  the  ideal  of  the  ryot's  family  life  in  India," 


upon  the  back  of  the  Acropolis."  She  had  little  taste  for 
the  topographical  research  and  nice  distinctions  between 
different  masters  of  sculpture  which  absorb  the  interest 
of  many  modern  travellers  and  students.  She  was  interested 
in  broader  speculations.  The  soul  of  a  people,  as  expressed 
in  their  art,  was  the  object  to  which  she  directed  her  observa- 
tion, and  around  which  she  loved  to  let  her  imagination  play. 
In  her  note-books  and  letters  she  discusses  the  spiritual 
conceptions  embodied  in  the  worship  of  the  several  Greek 
gods  ;  she  traces  the  symbols  of  Greek  mythology  to  their 
sources  in  Greek  scenery  ;  she  pictures  the  genius  of  Aes- 
chylus (her  favourite  tragedian,  preferred  by  her  even  to 
Shakespeare)  or  of  Sophocles  developing  in  relation  to  local 
conditions  and  surroundings.  Of  the  statues,  the  pensive 
beauty  of  the  sepulchral  bas-reliefs  most  arrested  her  atten- 
tion ;  and  in  architecture,  she  loved  most  the  Doric,  for 
its  severity,  its  simplicity,  its  perfection  of  proportion,  its 
image  of  the  ideal  republic  :— 

Only  a  republican  could  have  conceived  it,  and  it  is  sin  for 
any  other  government  to  imitate  it.  Look  at  each  column 
— man,  I  mean — rearing  its  noble  head  ;  yet  none  has  a  separate 
base.  Each  man  stands  upon  the  common  base  of  his  country. 
Look  at  the  simplicity  of  the  fluting  of  the  capital.  No  man 
thinks  of  his  own  adornment,  but  only  of  the  glory  of  the  whole. 
The  fluting  does  not  look  like  its  ornament,  but  its  drapery. 
I  do  love  the  old  Doric  as  if  it  was  a  person.  Then  comes  the 
Ionic,  light  and  elegant  and  airy,  it  is  true,  like  the  Attic  wit, 
but  somewhat  luscious  to  the  taste  ;  it  soon  palls  ;  the  fluting  is 
too  laboured,  too  semicircular,  like  the  people  sitting  in  a  semi- 
circle to  hear  the  wit  of  Aristophanes ;  it  does  not  look  as  if  it 
belonged  to  the  column  ;  and  that  ridge  between  the  flutes,  what 
is  it  doing  there  ?  It  looks  like  the  interval  while  the  next  inter- 
locutor is  thinking  of  a  repartee.  Then  that  rich  beading  round 
the  base,  like  one  of  Euripides'  choruses  which  have  nothing  to  do 
with  the  piece.  Give  me  the  Ionic  to  amuse  me,  but  the  Doric 
to  interest  me.  The  Corinthian  is  like  the  worship  of  Dionysus, 
like  the  illustration  of  Nature  by  Art — a  bad  conjunction,  I  think, 
which  in  any  other  hands  would  become  Art  run  mad,  but  modified 
by  the  exquisite  artistic  perceptions  of  the  Greeks  is  exquisitely 
beautiful,  but  it  is  not  architecture.  The  Doric,  the  Ionic,  and 
the  Corinthian  are  the  ethical,  the  poetical,  and  the  aesthetic 
views  of  life.  But  look  at  the  workmanship  of  these  things. 
How  mathematically  exact  it  is — the  very  poetry  of  number. 


It  was  characteristic  of  the  philosophical  bent  of  her 
mind  that  she  sought  to  refer  the  charm  of  the  scenery  to 
some  general  law  : — 

ATHENS,  June  8.  I  have  been  taking  some  lovely  rides 
with  Mr.  Hill  on  Hymettus,  along  the  Daphne  road,  and  to  Kara. 
How  lovely  the  scenery  is,  would  be  difficult  to  describe,  and  why 
it  is  so  lovely.  I  begin  to  think  that  it  is  the  proportion,  and 
that  there  must  be  proportion  in  the  things  of  Nature  as  of  Art. 
I  am  talking  nonsense,  I  believe,  but  nobody  minds  me,  you 
know.  In  the  valleys  of  Switzerland  the  height  is  too  great 
for  the  width,  and  it  looks  like  a  bottle.  In  the  valleys  of  Egypt 
the  width  is  too  great  for  the  height,  and  it  looks  like  a  tray. 
For  this  reason  clouds  are  provided  in  Switzerland  and  Scotland  ; 
the  height  would  become  intolerably  out  of  proportion  unless 
it  were  covered  in  at  the  top.  For  this  reason  clear  sky  is  in 
Egypt,  or  you  would  feel  in  a  shelf.  But  here,  where  the  clear 
sky  is  meant,  they  say,  to  be  perpetual  (tho*  I  cannot  say 
I  have  seen  much  of  it  since  I  came),  the  proportion  observed 
has  been  perfect,  the  exact  curve  is  always  there,  the  exact 
slope  which  you  want ;  and  if  a  line  were  to  change  its  place,  you 
feel  the  effect  would  be  spoilt.  You  feel  towards  it  as  to  an  archi- 
tectural building.  I  believe  that  in  this  lies  the  great  peculiarity 
of  the  Athenian  views.  Otherwise,  for  colouring,  I  must  de- 
clare I  have  seen  nothing  like  the  evenings  of  the  Campagna. 

Of  the  Parthenon  by  moonlight  she  wrote  that  it  was 
"  impossible  that  earth  or  heaven  could  produce  anything 
more  beautiful."  In  other  letters  she  dwells  on  the  beauty 
of  the  view  from  Lycabettus,  and  the  glory  of  the  sunset 
from  Hymettus.  One  day  upon  the  Acropolis  she  found 
some  boys  with  a  baby  owl  that  had  just  fallen  from  its 
nest  in  the  Parthenon.  She  bought  it  from  them  and  kept 
it.  It  used  to  travel  in  her  pocket,  and  lived  at  Embley. 


Public  affairs  in  Greece  interested  her  also.  She  had 
arrived  in  Greek  waters  at  the  height  of  the  "  Pacifico  crisis/' 
There  had  been  a  rupture  between  England  and  Greece, 
which  threatened  also  the  relations  between  England  and 
France,  and  which  convulsed  political  parties  at  West- 
minster, over  the  claims  of  Mr.  Finlay,  the  historian  of 
modern  Greece,  and  Don  Pacifico,  a  native  of  Gibraltar. 

go  GREEK  POLITICS  :   1850  PT.  i 

Lord  Palmerston  had  ordered  the  Mediterranean  Fleet  to 
the  Peiraeus  to  enforce  the  British  claims,  and  Miss  Nightin- 
gale was  sitting  beside  Mr.  Wyse,  the  British  Minister  at 
Athens,  at  dinner  on  board  H.M.S.  Howe,  when  the  sub- 
mission of  the  Greek  Government  was  brought  to  him. 
Her  home  letters  throw  much  light  on  the  ins  and  outs  of 
this  affair,  which,  however,  is  now  only  remembered  as  the 
occasion  of  Lord  Palmerston's  vindication  in  the  House  of 
Commons  with  its  famous  peroration  about  Civis  Romanus 
sum.  Miss  Nightingale  now,  as  earlier,  was  a  strong 
Palmerstonian.  "  The  friends  of  Broadlands,"  she  wrote 
to  her  parents,  "  need  never  have  been  less  uneasy  for  his 
reputation  "  ;  and  if  parliamentary  success  be  a  sufficient 
test,  she  was  entirely  right.  She  found  herself  again  in  the 
thick  of  political  discussion  on  leaving  Greek  waters.  Her 
party  sailed  from  Athens  on  June  17,  and  went  to  Trieste 
by  Corfu — "  that  fairy  island/'  she  wrote,  "  where  every 
flower  grows  twice  as  big  as  it  does  anywhere  else,  and 
where  no  frost  can  touch  the  olive  and  the  pomegranate." 
She  and  her  parents  were  acquainted  with  Sir  Henry  Ward, 
then  Lord  High  Commissioner  of  the  Ionian  Islands.  Sir 
Henry,  who  had  been  an  active  Liberal  at  home,  had  felt 
himself  obliged  to  adopt  sternly  repressive  measures  in  the 
islands.  Miss  Nightingale  was  opposed  to  his  policy,  as 
also  to  the  British  occupation.  He  invited  her  and  her 
friends  to  the  Palace.  She  went  to  proffer  excuses.  "  He 
came  out,  said  that  I  had  often  called  him  '  Tyrant/  and 
took  me  in  his  arms  like  a  father,  and  stood  over  me  in  the 
character  of  Tyrant  (he  said)  till  I  had  written  a  letter 
compelling  them  all  to  come,  which  he  then  sealed  and  I 
sent.  So  the  whole  posse  comitatus  of  us  spent  the  day 
there,  they  sending  the  carriage  for  us,  and  I  am  really  glad 
to  have  seen  what  is  my  idea  of  Eastern  luxury."  The 
tyrant  placed  his  accuser  next  to  him  at  dinner,  deplored 
his  "  false  position,"  and  so  forth,  and  they  made  some  sort 
of  peace  ;  though  not  perhaps  till  Miss  Nightingale  had 
sought  to  bring  him  to  a  conviction  of  sin  for  his  executions 
and  arbitrary  arrests,  for  she  was  armed,  as  her  letters 
show,  now  as  ever,  with  all  the  facts  and  figures  marshalled 
in  Blue-book  precision. 



Her  mind  was  interested  in  all  these  things,  but  her 
heart  was  elsewhere.  "  Wherever  thou  art,"  said  a  famous 
statesman,  "  it  is  with  the  poor  that  thou  should'st  live." 
It  was  so  with  Florence  Nightingale's  inmost  thoughts.  Her 
greatest  pleasure  in  Athens  was  found  in  the  society  of  the 
American  missionaries,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hill,  who  conducted 
a  school  and  orphanage.  Of  Mrs.  Hill  she  wrote,  "From 
heaven  she  comes,  in  heaven  she  lives."  In  charge  of  the 
mission  school  was  a  Greek  refugee  from  Crete,  Elizabeth 
Kontaxaki,  and  with  her  too  Florence  Nightingale  formed 
a  warm  friendship.  Elizabeth  had  lived  an  adventurous 
life  before  she  found  security  at  Athens.  Her  father  had 
fallen  by  a  Turkish  bullet.  Her  mother  had  made  an  heroic 
escape  from  a  Turkish  captor,  and  the  first  years  of  the 
child's  life  were  spent  in  the  fastnesses  of  Mount  Ida. 
"  Alas,"  wrote  Miss  Nightingale,  "  how  worthless  my  life 
seems  to  me  by  the  side  of  these  women."  A  mood  of  great 
dejection  appears  in  her  diary  of  this  time,  to  which  an 
attack  of  low-fever  no  doubt  contributed.  She  could  not 
find  satisfaction  in  the  interests  of  foreign  travel.  She  was 
tortured  by  unsatisfied  longings  which  could  find  outlet 
only  in  a  world  of  dreams.  An  entry  in  her  diary  for  June  7 
is  in  these  words  :  "  Grotto  of  the  Eumenides.  Will  this 
Fury  go  on  increasing  till  by  degrees  my  mind  is  more  and 
more  taken  off  the  outer  world  with  all  its  claims,  and  I  am 
no  longer  able  to  command  my  attention  at  all  ? " 

Miss  Nightingale  and  her  friends  landed  at  Trieste  at 
the  end  of  June,  and  thence  made  their  way  to  Dresden 
and  Berlin.  The  pictures  which  most  impressed  her  were 
Raphael's  "  Sistine  Madonna "  and  the  "  Reading  Mag- 
dalen," then  attributed  to  Correggio.  A  year  later  her 
mother  and  sister  were  at  Dresden,  and  she  enjoined  them, 
above  all  things,  to  see  "  the  Magdalen,  the  queen  of  pic- 
tures." "  How  I  feel  that  picture  now,"  she  wrote  to  them 
(August  26,  1851),  "  dark  wood  behind,  sharp  stones  in 
front,  nothing  to  look  back  upon,  nothing  to  look  forward 
to,  clinging  to  the  present  as  she  does  to  the  book,  which 


beams  bright  light  upon  me.  Oh  what  a  history  that 
picture  contains  in  its  little  canvass  ;  and  how  well  it  hangs 
near  that  glorious  Sistine  Virgin.  All  that  woman  might 
be,  all  that  she  will  be,  near  what  she  *s ;  for  it  is  not  a 
Magdalen,  in  the  common  sense  of  the  word,  or  rather  it  is 
in  the  common  sense  of  what  woman  commonly  is — not 
what  we  mean  by  a  Magdalen."  At  Dresden  Miss  Nightin- 
gale was  still  in  much  dejection.  "  I  have  never  felt  so 
bad,"  she  wrote  (July  7)  ;  "  the  habit  of  living  not  in  the 
present  but  in  a  future  of  dreams  is  gradually  spreading 
over  my  whole  existence.  It  is  rapidly  approaching  the 
state  of  madness  when  dreams  become  realities."  And 
now  when  the  goal  of  Kaiserswerth  was  near,  she  felt  almost 
unmanned  ;  almost  inclined  to  turn  back  and  follow  another 
path.  "  It  seemed  to  me  now  (July  10)  as  if  quiet,  with 
somebody  to  look  for  my  coming  back,  was  all  I  wanted." 
But  this  was  only  a  moment  of  passing  weakness.  At  Berlin 
her  spirits  revived ;  for  her  vital  interests  were  satisfied, 
and  she  spent  some  days  in  inspecting  the  hospitals  and 
other  benevolent  institutions.  On  July  31  she  reached 
Kaiserswerth.  "  I  could  hardly  believe  I  was  there,"  she 
wrote  in  her  diary.  "  With  the  feeling  with  which  a  pilgrim 
first  looks  on  the  Kedron,  I  saw  the  Rhine,  dearer  to  me 
than  the  Nile."  She  stayed  a  fortnight  with  the  Pastor  and 
his  wife  and  the  Deaconesses,  studying  their  institutions. 
"  Left  Kaiserswerth,"  says  the  diary  (August  13),  "  feeling 
so  brave  as  if  nothing  could  ever  vex  me  again."  l  She 
rejoined  her  friends  at  Dusseldorf.  "  They  staid  at  Ghent 
actually  for  me  to  finish  my  MS."  (August  17).  "  Finished 
my  MS.  They  read  it.  Mr.  Bracebridge  corrected  it  and 
sent  it  off "  (August  19).  Next  day  they  returned  to  Eng- 

1  In  the  Album  of  the  Pastor's  eldest  daughter,  Miss  Nightingale  left 
this  inscription  : — 

"  Vier  Dinge,  Gott,  habe  ich  dir  zu  bieten, 
Die  sich  in  all  deinen  Schatzkammern  nicht  finden  : 
Meine  Nichtigkeit,  meine  traurige  Armut, 
Meine  verderbliche  Siinde,  meine  ernste  Reue. 
Nimm  diese  Gaben  an  und  nimm  den  Geber  hin. 

Kaiserswerth,  den  13  August  1850.  Fl.  N.,  die  mit  iiberniezendem 
Herzen  sich  immer  der  Gute  all  ihrer  Freunde  in  lieben  Kaiserswerth 
erinnern  wird.  Ich  bin  ein  Cast  gewesen,  und  ihr  habt  mir  beherbergt  " 
Eine  Heldin  unter  Helden,  1912,  p.  45). 


land.  The  manuscript  was  of  the  pamphlet  describing 
"  The  Institution  of  Kaiserswerth  on  the  Rhine,"  which 
was  issued  anonymously  soon  after  Miss  Nightingale's  return.1 
Some  notice  of  the  pamphlet  will  be  found  in  a  later 
chapter  in  connection  with  her  longer  sojourn  at  Kaisers- 
werth in  1851.  It  was  printed  by  the  inmates  of  the 
Ragged  School  at  Westminster  in  which  she  was  interested. 
She  described  in  it  the  work  of  the  Deaconesses,  and  ended 
with  an  appeal  to  Englishwomen  to  go  and  do  likewise.  The 
fire  burnt  within  her,  and  she  returned  home  more  than 
ever  resolved  to  consecrate  her  life  to  the  service  of  the  sick 
and  sorrowful. 

Foreign  travel,  it  will  thus  be  seen,  had  worked  no  such 
cure,  had  created  no  such  diversion,  as  her  family  desired. 
Their  hope,  even  their  expectation,  was  not  unreasonable. 
Florence  Nightingale  was  a  woman  of  learning,  and  her 
foreign  travels  had  stimulated  her  alike  to  research  and  to 
imaginative  thought.     At  home,  too,  during  all  the  years 
of  restless  and  unsatisfied  yearning  for  some  other  life,  she 
had  been  a  diligent  reader  and  student.     She  had  a  real 
gift  for  literary  expression,  as  her  letters  may  already  have 
indicated,  and  as  her  later  writings  were  to  prove  more 
decisively.     She  had,  moreover,  the  instinct  for  self-expres- 
sion.    She   was   a   constant   letter- writer   and   note-taker. 
She  communed  with  herself  not  only  in  speechless  thought, 
but  in  written  memoranda.     Had  another  impulse  not  been 
stronger  within  her,  she  might  easily  have  become  a  literary 
woman  of  some  distinction.     But  though  she  was  fond  of 
writing  for  her  own  satisfaction,  she  had  a  profound  distrust 
of  it  as  a  substitute  for  action.     Like  one  of  George  Eliot's 
heroines,  "  she  did  not  want  to  deck  herself  with  knowledge — 
to  wear  it  loose  from  the  nerves  and  blood  that  fed  her 
action."     "  You  ask  me,"  she  had  written  to  Miss  Clarke  in 
1844,  "  why  I  do  not  write  something.     I  think  what  is  not 
of  the  first  class  had  better  not  exist  at  all ;    and  besides  I 
had  so  much  rather  live  than  write  ;   writing  is  only  a  sup- 
plement for  living.     Would  you  have  one  go  away  and 

1  Bibliography  A,  No.  I. 


'  give  utterance  to  one's  feelings  '  in  a  poem  to  appear  (price 
2  guineas)  in  the  Belle  Assembleel  I  think  one's  feelings 
waste  themselves  in  words  ;  they  ought  all  to  be  distilled 
into  actions,  and  into  actions  which  bring  results.  Do  you 
think  a  babe  would  ever  learn  to  walk  if  it  were  to  talk  about 
its  living  in  such  '  strange  times/  '  I  must  learn  to  use  my 
legs/  and  so  on  ?  Or  do  you  think  anybody  ever  did  any- 
thing, who  did  not  go  to  it  with  a  directness  of  purpose, 
which  prevented  him  from  frittering  away  his  impressions 
in  words  ?  "  She  was  of  Ibsen's  persuasion  : — 

What  is  Life  ?  a  fighting 
In  heart  and  in  brain  with  trolls. 
Poetry  ?  that  means  writing 
Doomsday-accounts  of  our  souls.1 

She  held  in  great  suspicion  and  dislike  what  she  called 
the  "  artist-like  way  of  looking  upon  life/'  It  reduces  all 
religions,  she  said,  and  most  inward  and  spiritual  feelings 
"  into  a  sort  of  magic-lantern,  with  which  to  make  play 
for  the  amusement  of  the  company/'  Her  mother  used  to 
praise  her  "  beautiful  letters,"  was  proud  of  the  "  European 
reputation  "  she  had  won  among  learned  men,  and  wanted 
to  know  why  she  could  not  be  happy  in  cultivating  at  home 
the  gifts  which  God  had  given  her.  To  Florence  Nightingale 
these  things  were  not  gifts  to  be  cultivated,  but  rather 
temptations  to  be  subdued.  She  read  with  some  attention 
in  1846  a  book  called  Passages  from  the  Life  of  a  Daughter  at 
Home,  a  religious  work  containing  counsels  of  submission 
for  women  dissatisfied  with  their  home  life.  "  Piling  up 
miscellaneous  instruction  for  oneself/'  she  wrote  in  one 
place  in  the  margin ;  "  the  most  unsatisfactory  of  all  pur- 
suits !  "  She  strove  to  say  to  God,  as  she  wrote  in  another 
place,  "  Behold  the  handmaid  of  the  Lord  !  not  Behold  the 
handmaid  of  correspondence,  or  of  music,  or  of  meta- 
physics !  "  "  That  power  of  always  writing  a  good  letter 
whenever  one  likes,"  she  said  in  one  of  her  pages  of  self- 
examination,  "is  a  great  temptation" — a  temptation,  if 
such  it  be,  to  which,  it  must  be  confessed,  she  continually 
succumbed.  But  she  wished  to  win  no  repute  from  her  fall. 
In  1854  ner  sister  printed  the  "  beautiful  letters  "  from 

1  Lyrics  and  Poems  from  Ibsen,  translated  by  F.  E.  Garrett. 

CH.  vi  "  DEVOTION  TO  THE  SICK  "  95 

Egypt,1  and  issued  a  few  copies  for  private  circulation. 
Florence  was  not  pleased,  but  acquiesced,  and  corrected  the 

Any  dreams,  then,  which  she  may  have  harboured  of 
literary  distinction,  she  had  put  resolutely  away  from  her. 
"  Oh  God/'  she  had  written  in  her  diary  at  Cairo,  "  thou 
puttest  into  my  heart  this  great  desire  to  devote  myself  to 
the  sick  and  sorrowful.  I  offer  it  to  thee.  Do  with  it 
what  is  for  thy  service."  But  there  was  still  one  other 
temptation  to  be  subdued. 

1  Bibliography  A,  No.  2. 



The  craving  for  sympathy,  which  exists  between  two  who  are  to  form 
one  indivisible  and  perfect  whole,  is  in  most  cases  between  man  and  woman, 
in  some  between  man  and  God.  This  the  Roman  Catholics  have  under- 
stood and  expressed  under  the  simile,  Christ  the  bridegroom,  the  Nun 
married  to  Him,  the  Monk  married  to  the  Church ;  or  as  St.  Francis  to 
poverty,  or  as  St.  Ignatius  Loyola  to  the  divine  mistress  of  his  thoughts, 
the  Virgin.  This  sort  of  tie  between  man  and  God  seems  alone  able  to 
fill  the  want  of  the  other,  the  permanent  exclusive  tie  between  the  one  man 
and  the  one  woman. — FLORENCE  NIGHTINGALE  :  Suggestions  for  Thought. 

"  I  HAD  three  paths  among  which  to  choose,"  wrote  Miss 
Nightingale  in  a  diary  of  1850  :  "I  might  have  been  a 
literary  woman,  or  a  married  woman,  or  a  Hospital  Sister." 
We  have  seen  how  she  turned  away  from  the  first  path. 
Why  did  she  reject  the  second  ? 

"  Our  dear  Flo,"  wrote  Mrs.  Bracebridge  to  Miss  Clarke 
in  1844,  "  has  just  recovered  from  a  severe  cold,  but  I  hear 
nothing  of  what  I  long  for,  i.e.  some  noble-hearted,  true  man, 
one  who  can  love  her  as  she  deserves  to  be  loved,  prepared 
to  take  her  to  a  house  of  her  own."  And  three  years  later 
another  friend,  Fanny  Allen,  in  describing  a  visit  to  Embley, 
said  of  Florence  :  "  What  a  wife  she  would  make  for  a  man 
worthy  of  her !  but  I  am  not  sure  I  yet  know  the  mate  fit 
for  her."  The  two  Nightingale  girls,  she  surmised,  would 
experience  a  "  difficulty  in  finding  any  one  they  would  like 
well  enough  to  forsake  such  a  home."  l  In  the  case  of 
Florence,  the  position  was  ill  understood  by  outsiders.  To 
her  the  home  was  not  a  happy  garden  which  she  would  be 

1  A  Century  of  Family  Letters,  vol.  ii.  pp.  106,  107. 

CH.  vii      A  CRITICISM  OF  "  MIDDLEMARCH  "  97 

very  reluctant  to  forsake,  but  rather  a  gilded  cage  from 
which  she  eagerly  sought  a  way  of  escape.  To  us  who  have 
the  means  of  knowing  her  inmost  thoughts  and  feelings,  the 
question  thus  presents  itself  in  another  light  than  that  in 
which  it  appeared  to  her  friends  at  the  time.  She  craved 
for  a  larger,  fuller  life  than  she  could  find  at  home.  Why 
could  she  not,  or  why  did  she  not,  seek  it  in  marriage  ?  It 
is  love  that  sometimes  "  frees  the  imprisoned  spirit/'  that 
enables  it  to  find  and  to  express  itself.  That  Miss  Nightin- 
gale remained  single  was  not  the  result  of  lack  of  opportunity 
to  marry.  The  reason  is  to  be  found  elsewhere — in  feelings, 
thoughts,  and  ideals,  in  reasoned  convictions  and  aspira- 
tions, which,  if  I  can  present  them  aright,  will  illuminate 
her  character  and  her  career. 

In  1873  Miss  Nightingale,  like  the  rest  of  the  world, 
was  reading  Middlemarch,  and  a  paper  which  she  wrote  in 
that  year  contained  some  notice  of  George  Eliot's  heroine.1 
"  A  novel  of  genius  has  appeared.  Its  writer  once  put 
before  the  world  (in  a  work  of  fiction  too),  certainly  the  most 
living,  probably  the  most  historically  truthful,  presentment 
of  the  great  Idealist,  Savonarola  of  Florence.  This  author 
now  can  find  no  better  outlet  for  the  heroine — also  an 
Idealist — because  she  cannot  be  a  '  St.  Teresa  '  or  an  '  Anti- 
gone/ than  to  marry  an  elderly  sort  of  literary  impostor, 
and,  quick  after  him,  his  relation,  a  baby  sort  of  itinerant 
Cluricaune  (see  Irish  Fairies)  or  inferior  Faun  (see  Haw- 
thorne's matchless  Transformation).  Yet  close  at  hand,  in 
actual  life,  was  a  woman — an  Idealist  too — and  if  we  mistake 
not,  a  connection  of  the  author's,  who  has  managed  to  make 
her  ideal  very  real  indeed.  By  taking  charge  of  blocks  of 
buildings  in  poorest  London,  while  making  herself  the  rent- 
collector,  she  found  work  for  those  who  could  not  find  work 
for  themselves  ;  she  organized  a  system  of  visitors  ;  .  .  . 
she  brought  sympathy  and  education  to  bear  from  individual 
to  individual,  ...  so  that  one  might  be  tempted  to  say, 
'  Were  there  one  such  woman  with  power  to  direct  the  flow 
of  volunteer  help,  nearly  everywhere  running  to  waste,  in 
every  street  of  London's  East  End,  almost  might  the  East 
End  be  persuaded  to  become  Christian.'  Could  not  the 

1  Fraser's  Magazine,  May  1873. 
VOL.  I  H 

98  FANCY   FREE  PT.  i 

heroine,  the  '  sweet  sad  enthusiast/  have  been  set  to  some 
such  work  as  this  ?  Indeed  it  is  past  telling  the  mischief 
that  is  done  in  thus  putting  down  youthful  ideals.  There 
are  not  too  many  to  begin  with.  There  are  few  indeed  to 
end  with — even  without  such  a  gratuitous  impulse  as  this  to 
end  them/'  In  this  passage,  as  in  much  that  Florence 
Nightingale  wrote,  there  is  an  autobiographical  note.  She 
did  not  marry  because  she  held  fast  to  an  ideal — an  ideal 
nearer  to  that  of  Octavia  Hill  than  to  that  of  Dorothea 


For  two  or  three  years  Florence  Nightingale  was  in  much 
trouble  of  mind  from  an  attachment  which  one  of  her  cousins 
had  formed  for  her.  In  no  case  would  she  have  thought  it 
right  to  marry  him.  "  Accident  or  relationship/'  she  wrote 
some  years  later,1 "  throw  people  together  in  their  childhood, 
and  acquaintance  has  grown  up  naturally  and  unconsciously. 
Accordingly  in  novels  it  is  generally  cousins  who  marry  ; 
and  now  it  seems  the  only  natural  thing,  the  only  possible 
way  of  making  an  intimacy.  And  yet  we  know  that  inter- 
marriage between  relations  is  in  direct  contravention  of  the 
laws  of  nature  for  the  well-being  of  the  race."  It  was  sup- 
posed by  some  of  the  family  circle  at  the  time  that  this  was 
the  only  objection  to  an  engagement ;  but  there  were 
others.  Florence  was  in  no  mood,  then  or  afterwards,  to 
marry  for  the  sake  of  marrying.  Marriage,  she  had  written 
to  Miss  Clarke  (p.  66),  was  not  an  absolute  blessing ;  and 
though  she  liked  her  cousin,  she  was  in  no  sense  in  love  with 
him.  She  felt  relief,  intense  and  unmixed,  as  she  recorded 
in  her  private  meditations,  when  she  learnt  that  the  young 
man  had  at  last  forgotten  her.  But  though  this  episode 
left  her  heart-whole,  it  had  a  great  and  painful  influence 
upon  her  mind.  "  Cleanse  all  my  love  from  the  desire  of 
creating  an  interest  in  another's  heart  "  is  the  burden  of 
many  of  her  meditations. 

Among  other  attachments  of  which  Florence  Nightingale 
was  the  object,  there  was  one  which  had  a  deeper  effect 
and  called  for  a  more  difficult  and  searching  choice  in  life. 
1  Suggestions  for  Thought,  vol.  ii.  p.  401. 


She  was  asked  in  marriage  by  one  who  continued  for  some 
years  to  press  his  suit.  It  was  a  proposal  which  seemed 
to  those  about  her  to  promise  every  happiness.  The  match 
would  by  all  have  been  deemed  suitable,  and  by  many 
might  have  been  called  brilliant.  And  Florence  herself 
was  strongly  drawn  to  her  admirer.  She  had  not  come  to 
this  state  of  mind  in  hasty  inclination.  She  was  on  her 
guard  against  any  such  temptation.  Many  years  before, 
in  a  letter  to  her  "  brother  Jonathan,"  as  she  called  Miss 
Hilary  Bonham  Carter,  she  had  written  : — 

It  strikes  me  that  in  all  the  most  unworldly  poetry  (both 
prose  and  verse)  la  passion  qu'on  appelle  inclination  is  treated 
in  a  very  extraordinary  way.  When  one  finds  a  comparative 
stranger  becoming  all  of  a  sudden  more  essential  to  one  than 
one's  family  (via  flattery,  in  general,  of  one  sort  or  another), 
one  is  content  with  saying  to  oneself,  "  Oh  !  that's  love,"  instead 
of  saying,  "  How  unjust  and  how  blind  this  feeling  is."  I  wonder 
whether  if  people  were  to  examine — for,  as  Socrates  says,  the 
life  unexamined  is  not  a  living  life — they  would  not  find  that 
(whatever  it  may  ripen  to  afterwards)  this  feeling  at  first  is 
generally  begun  by  vanity  or  jealousy  or  self-love  ;  and  that 
what  is  very  much  to  be  guarded  against,  instead  of  submitted 
to,  is  the  stranger's  admiration  (and  I  suppose  everybody  has 
been  susceptible  at  one  time  of  their  lives)  having  more  effect 
upon  one  than  one's  own  family's. 

In  this  case,  however,  the  stranger's  admiration  had 
stood  the  test.  She  felt  drawn  to  him,  not  by  vanity  or 
self-love  ;  but  because  she  admired  his  talents,  and  because 
the  more  she  saw  of  him  the  greater  pleasure  did  she  find  in 
his  society.  She  leaned  more  and  more  upon  his  sympathy. 
Yet  when  the  proposal  first  came,  she  refused  it ;  and  when 
it  was  renewed,  she  persisted.  Then,  it  may  be  said,  she 
cannot  have  been  "  in  love  "  with  him.  And  in  one  sense 
that  is,  I  suppose,  quite  true  ;  for  love,  as  the  poets  tell  us, 
does  not  reason,  and  Florence  Nightingale  reasoned  deeply 
over  her  case.  But  it  is  certain  that  she  felt  at  least  as  much 
affection  as  suffices  to  make  half  the  marriages  in  the  world. 
She  turned  away  from  a  path  to  which  she  was  strongly 
drawn  in  order  to  pursue  her  Ideal. 

In  one  of  the  many  pages  of  autobiographical  notes 
which  she  preserved  in  relation  to  this  episode  in  her  life, 


Miss  Nightingale  thus  explained  her  refusal  to  marry.  "  I 
have  an  intellectual  nature  which  requires  satisfaction,  and 
that  would  find  it  in  him.  I  have  a  passional  nature  which 
requires  satisfaction,  and  that  would  find  it  in  him.  I  have 
a  moral,  an  active  nature  which  requires  satisfaction,  and 
that  would  not  find  it  in  his  life.  I  can  hardly  find  satis- 
faction for  any  of  my  natures.  Sometimes  I  think  that  I 
will  satisfy  my  passional  nature  at  all  events,  because  that 
will  at  least  secure  me  from  the  evil  of  dreaming.  But 
would  it  ?  I  could  be  satisfied  to  spend  a  life  with  him 
combining  our  different  powers  in  some  great  object.  I 
could  not  satisfy  this  nature  by  spending  a  life  with  him  in 
making  society  and  arranging  domestic  things.  ...  To  be 
nailed  to  a  continuation  and  exaggeration  of  my  present 
life,  without  hope  of  another,  would  be  intolerable  to  me. 
Voluntarily  to  put  it  out  of  my  power  ever  to  be  able  to 
seize  the  chance  of  forming  for  myself  a  true  and  rich  life 
would  seem  to  me  like  suicide." 

Florence  Nightingale  was  no  vestal  ascetic.  A  true  and 
perfect  marriage  was,  she  thought, the  perfect  state.  "Marry- 
ing a  man  of  high  and  good  purpose,  and  following  out  that 
purpose  with  him  is  the  happiest  "lot.  "  The  highest,  the 
only  true  love,  is  when  two  persons,  a  man  and  a  woman, 
who  have  an  attraction  for  one  another,  unite  together  in 
some  true  purpose  for  mankind  and  God."  1  The  thought 
of  God  in  instituting  marriage  was  "  that  these  two,  when 
the  right  two  are  united,  shall  throw  themselves  fearlessly 
into  the  universe,  and  do  its  work,  secure  of  companionship 
and  sympathy."  Miss  Nightingale  recognized  also  that  for 
many  women  marriage,  even  though  it  may  fall  short  of 
this  ideal  state,  is  the  proper  lot  in  life.  But  she  held,  on 
the  other  hand,  that  there  are  some  women  who  may  be 
marked  out  for  single  life.  "  I  don't  agree  at  all  (she  wrote 
in  1846)  that  a  woman  has  no  reason  (if  she  does  not  care 
for  any  one  else)  for  not  marrying  a  good  man  who  asks  her, 
and  I  don't  think  Providence  does  either.  I  think  He  has 
as  clearly  marked  out  some  to  be  single  women  as  He  has 
others  to  be  wives,  and  has  organized  them  accordingly  for 
their  vocation.  I  think  some  have  every  reason  for  not 
1  Suggestions  for  Thought,  vol.  ii.  pp.  229,  231. 

CH.  vii      THE  CHOICE  OF  THE  SINGLE  LIFE         101 

marrying,  and  that  for  these  it  is  much  better  to  educate 
the  children  who  are  already  in  the  world  and  can't  be  got 
out  of  it,  than  to  bring  more  into  it.  The  Primitive  Church 
clearly  thought  so  too,  and  provided  accordingly ;  and 
though  no  doubt  the  Primitive  Church  was  in  many  matters 
an  old  woman,  yet  I  think  the  experience  of  ages  has  proved 
her  right  in  this."  And  again  :  "  Ours  is  a  system  of  Chris- 
tianity without  the  Cross  "  ;  the  single  life  was  the  life  of 
Christ.  "  Has  Heaven  bestowed  everlasting  souls  on  men, 
and  sent  them  upon  earth  for  no  better  purpose  than  to 
marry  and  be  given  in  marriage  ?  True,  there  is  in  this 
world  much  more  waiting  to  be  done  ;  but  is  it  the  man 
leading  a  secular  life  who  will  do  it  ?  He  is  apt  to  see  nothing 
beyond  himself  and  the  fair  creature  he  has  chosen  for  his 
bride."  And,  as  with  men,  so  with  women.  There  are 
women  of  intellectual  or  actively  moral  natures  for  whom 
marriage  (unless  it  realizes  the  perfect  ideal)  means  the 
sacrifice  of  their  higher  capacities  to  the  satisfaction  of 
their  lower.  "  Death/'  she  wrote  (again  in  a  note-book  of 
1846),  "  is  often  the  gateway  to  the  Garden  where  we  shall 
no  longer  hunger  and  thirst  after  real  satisfaction.  Marriage, 
on  the  contrary,  is  often  an  initiation  into  the  meaning  of 
that  inexorable  word  Never ;  which  does  not  deprive  us,  it 
is  true,  of  what  '  at  their  festivals  the  idle  and  inconsiderate 
call  life/  but  which  brings  in  reality  the  end  of  our  lives, 
and  the  chill  of  death  with  it." 

In  her  own  case,  Miss  Nightingale  was  conscious  of 
capacities  within  her  for  "  high  purposes  for  mankind  and 
for  God."  She  could  not  feel  sure  that  the  marriage  which 
was  offered  to  her  would  enable  her  to  employ  those  capaci- 
ties to  their  best  and  fullest  power.  And  so  she  sacrificed 
her  "  passional  "  nature  to  her  moral  ideal.  "  I  am  30," 
she  wrote  on  her  birthday  in  her  diary  of  1850  ;  "  the  age 
at  which  Christ  began  His  mission.  Now  no  more  childish 
things,  no  more  vain  things,  no  more  love,  no  more  marriage. 
Now,  Lord,  let  me  only  think  of  Thy  will."  And  amongst 
her  sayings  in  another  book,  I  find  this  :  "  Strong  passions 
to  teach  the  secrets  of  the  human  heart,  and  a  strong  will 
to  hold  them  in  subjection,  these  are  the  keys  of  the  king- 
dom in  this  world  and  the  next."  Florence  Nightingale 

102  WEDDED  TO  THE  IDEAL  PT.  i 

turned  away  from  marriage  in  order  that  she  might  remain 
entirely  free  to  fulfil  her  vocation. 


It  was  not  a  sacrifice  which  cost  her  little.  If,  as  some 
may  hold,  she  was  not  in  love,  yet  she  confessed  to  herself 
many  of  a  lover's  pangs,  and  there  were  moments  when,  as 
she  met  her  admirer  again,  or  as  she  thought  of  him,  she  was 
half  inclined  to  repent  of  her  choice  of  the  single  life.  And 
the  sacrifice,  moreover,  was  of  an  immediate  satisfaction  to 
an  ideal  which  after  all  she  might  never  be  able  to  realize. 
The  legends  of  the  saints  tell  of  many  virgins  and  martyrs 
who  have  crucified  the  flesh  and  sacrificed  worldly  happiness 
for  the  love  of  Christ.  But  when  the  sacrifice  was  made, 
the  love  which  seemed  to  them  far  better  was  already  theirs. 
In  the  ears  of  St.  Agnes  the  Divine  Voice  had  sounded  with 
sweet  assurance,  and  she  had  tasted  of  the  milk  and  honey 
of  His  lips.  St.  Dorothea  was  already  espoused  in  a  garden 
where  celestial  fruits  and  roses  that  never  fade  surrounded 
her.  And  to  Florence  Nightingale  also  happiness  was  to  be 
given,  filling  all  her  life  for  some  years,  so  that  she  "  sought 
no  better  heaven  "  ;  but  at  the  time  when  she  made  her 
choice,  and  renounced  all  else  to  follow  her  ideal,  the  way 
before  her  was  still  dark  and  uncertain.  She  was  conscious 
of  a  call,  but  she  had  no  assurance  of  appointed  work.  To 
have  entered  into  a  marriage  which  gave  no  sure  promise  of 
her  ideal,  would  have  been,  she  felt,  the  suicide  of  a  soul ; 
yet,  when  she  was  called  to  choose  between  the  two  paths, 
her  present  life  was  starvation. 

Perhaps  it  was  the  price  which  she  had  paid  for  her 
ideal  that  led  to  what,  in  later  years,  some  considered  a 
certain  hardness  in  her.  When  once  a  woman  had  devoted 
her  life  to  the  work  of  nursing,  Miss  Nightingale  had  little 
sympathy  with  any  turning  back.  She  seemed  sometimes 
in  such  cases  to  regard  marriage  as  the  unpardonable  sin. 

But  another  and  a  loftier  train  of  thought  was  prompted 
by  her  experience.  At  the  end  of  one  of  her  meditations 
upon  marriage,  and  her  refusal  of  it,  I  find  these  significant 
words  :  "  I  must  strive  after  a  better  life  for  woman."  She 

CH.  vii  NEW  SPHERES  FOR  WOMEN  103 

did  not  mean  a  better  life  than  marriage  ;  she  meant  also 
a  life  that  should  make  the  conditions  of  marriage  better. 
In  the  world  in  which  she  lived,  daughters,  she  wrote,  "  can 
only  have  a  choice  among  those  people  whom  their  parents 
like,  and  who  like  their  parents  well  enough  to  come  to  their 
house."  One  may  doubt  whether  in  the  mid- Victorian  or 
in  any  age,  young  men  paid  calls  only  because  they  liked 
the  parents  ;  but  unquestionably  restriction  in  the  employ- 
ments of  women  involves  also  limitation  in  the  opportunities 
for  choice  in  marriage.  And  at  the  same  time  the  lack  of 
interest  and  variety  in  the  lives  of  girls  at  home  makes 
many  of  them  inclined  to  marriage  as  a  mere  means  of 
escape.  By  throwing  open  new  spheres  of  usefulness  to 
women,  Miss  Nightingale  hoped  at  one  and  the  same  time 
to  improve  the  lot  of  those  who  were  marked  out  to  be  wives, 
and  to  find  satisfaction  for  those  marked  out  for  the  single 




The  only  happiness  a  brave  man  ever  troubled  himself  with  asking 
much  about  was,  happiness  enough  to  get  his  work  done.  It  is,  after  all, 
the  one  unhappiness  of  a  man,  that  he  cannot  work  ;  that  he  cannot  get 
his  destiny  as  a  man  fulfilled. — CARLYLE. 

FOREIGN  travel  had,  as  we  have  seen,  in  no  way  changed 
Florence  Nightingale's  resolve  to  devote  herself  to  a  life  of 
nursing.  She  had  turned  away  deliberately  from  marriage, 
and  was  bent  upon  finding  a  new  field  of  usefulness  for 
unmarried  women.  But  ways  and  means  of  doing  this 
were  not  yet  apparent.  She  had  no  independent  fortune 
of  her  own.  She  returned  to  a  family  circle  which  understood 
her  cravings  no  better  than  before.  The  call  of  domestic 
duties  was  the  same  as  before.  There  were  aunts  and  a 
grandmother  to  be  visited,  company  at  home  to  be  enter- 
tained, a  sister  to  be  humoured,  a  father  and  mother  to 
be  pleased. 

But  she  could  not  please  them,  because  she  herself 
could  find  no  pleasure  in  their  life.  She  did  not  say  to  herself 
that  she  was  better  than  they.  Still  less  did  she  thank  God 
that  she  was  not  as  they  were.  But  she  felt  with  piteous 
keenness  the  gulf  that  separated  her  alike  from  her  parents 
and  from  her  sister.  She  loved  her  father,  and  admired 
his  good  impulses  and  amiable  character.  But  she  per- 
ceived that  his  contentment  in  a  life  of  busy  idleness  made 
him  constitutionally  unable  to  enter  fully  into  her  state  of 
mind.  She  loved  her  mother,  and  considered  that  she  was, 



within  her  range,  a  woman  of  genius.  "  She  has  the  genius 
of  order,"  she  wrote  in  a  character-sketch  of  her  mother, 
"  the  genius  to  organize  a  parish,  to  form  society.  She  has 
obtained  by  her  own  exertions  the  best  society  in  England." 
What  pained  the  daughter  was  the  inability  to  please  the 
mother.  "  When  I  feel  her  disappointment  in  me,  it  is  as 
if  I  was  becoming  insane."  She  loved  her  sister  also,  and, 
I  think,  yet  more  tenderly.  But  as  the  sister  once  wrote : 
"  The  natures  God  has  given  us  differ  as  widely  as  different 
races."  Florence  was  deeply  sensible  of  the  attractive  side 
of  her  sister's  character.  Lady  Verney  had  indeed  a  most 
attractive  mind ;  she  was  very  vivacious,  inquiring,  and 
highly  gifted,  both  as  an  artist  and  as  a  writer.  She  was  a 
perfect  hostess,  and  her  memory  is  pleasant  to  all  who 
knew  her.  If  she  lacked  some  of  her  sister's  stronger 
English  characteristics,  she  had  a  light  touch  which 
Florence  did  not  possess.  And  Florence  felt  the  charm  of 
all  this.  "  No  one  less  than  I,"  she  wrote,  "  wants  her  to 
do  one  single  thing  different  from  what  she  does.  She 
wants  no  other  religion,  no  other  occupation,  no  other 
training  than  what  she  has.  She  has  never  had  a  difficulty 
except  with  me  ;  she  knows  nothing  of  struggle  in  her  own 
unselfish  nature."  But  for  that  very  reason  she  could 
not  sympathize  with,  because  she  could  not  understand, 
her  sister's  difficulties.  In  a  passage  which  is  doubtless 
autobiographical,  Florence  wrote  :  "  Very  few  people  can 
sympathise  with  each  other  in  any  pursuit  or  thought  of 
any  importance.  If  people  do  not  give  you  thought  for 
thought,  receive  yours,  digest  it,  and  give  it  back  with  the 
impression  of  their  own  character  upon  it,  then  give  you  one 
for  you  to  do  likewise,  it  is  best  to  know  what  one  is  about, 
and  not  to  attempt  more  than  kindly,  cheerful  outward 
intercourse.  Some  find  amusement  in  the  outward,  do  not 
suffer  inwardly,  because  the  attention  is  turned  elsewhere."  l 
Meanwhile  Florence  felt  that  everything  she  said  or  did  was 
a  subject  of  vexation  to  her  sister,  a  disappointment  to 
her  mother,  a  worry  to  her  father.  "  I  have  never  known 
a  happy  time,"  she  exclaimed  to  herself,  "  except  at  Rome 
and  that  fortnight  at  Kaiserswerth.  It  is  not  the  unhappi- 

1  Suggestions  for  Thought,  vol.  ii.  pp.  236,  237. 

106  A  LIFE  OF  "  STARVATION  "  PT.  i 

ness  I  mind,  it  is  not  indeed  ;  but  people  can't  be  unhappy 
without  making  those  about  them  so." 

She  strove  to  attain  happiness.  She  tried  to  submit 
her  will  to  what  her  spiritual  confidantes  told  her  must 
be  taken  to  be  the  will  of  God ;  to  trust  that  in  His  own 
good  time  He  would  make  her  vocation  sure ;  in  such 
confidence  to  find  relief,  and  to  throw  herself  meanwhile 
into  the  round  of  immediate  duties.  But  the  more  she 
struggled,  the  more  she  failed.  She  could  not  subdue  the 
imperious  longing  to  be  up  and  doing  which  surged  within 
her.  "  The  thoughts  and  feelings  that  I  have  now,"  she 
wrote,  "  I  can  remember  since  I  was  six  years  old.  It  was 
not  that  I  made  them.  A  profession,  a  trade,  a  necessary 
occupation,  something  to  fill  and  employ  all  my  faculties, 
I  have  always  felt  essential  to  me,  I  have  always  longed  for, 
consciously  or  not.  During  a  middle  part  of  my  life,  college 
education,  acquirement,  I  longed  for,  but  that  was  tem- 
porary. The  first  thought  I  can  remember,  and  the  last, 
was  nursing  work ;  and  in  the  absence  of  this,  education 
work,  but  more  the  education  of  the  bad  than  of  the  young. 
But  for  this  I  had  had  no  education  myself."  Finding 
no  outlet  in  active  reality,  she  lived  more  than  ever  in 
a  land  of  dreams.  "  Everything  has  been  tried,"  she 
exclaimed  to  herself ;  "  foreign  travel,  kind  friends,  every- 
thing." And  again,  "  My  God !  what  is  to  become  of 
me  ?  "  Eighteen  months  before  she  had  resolved  on  a  great 
effort  to  crucify  her  old  self,  "  to  break  through  the  habits, 
entailed  upon  me  by  an  idle  life,  of  living,  not  in  the  present 
world  of  action,  but  in  a  future  one  of  dreams.  Since 
then  nations  have  passed  before  me,  but  have  brought 
no  new  life  to  me.  In  my  3ist  year  I  see  nothing 
desirable  but  death."  She  was  perishing,  as  she  put  it, 
for  want  of  food  ;  and  she  could  find  no  impulse  to  activity. 
Her  habit  of  late  rising  grew  upon  her ;  for  what  had  she 
to  wake  f or  ?  "  Starvation  does  not  lead  a  man  to  exertion, 
it  only  weakens  him.  O  weary  days,  O  evenings  that 
seem  never  to  end  !  For  how  many  long  years,  I  have 
watched  that  drawing-room  clock  and  thought  it  would 
never  reach  the  ten !  And  for  20  or  30  more  years 
to  do  this  !  "  And  again,  "  Oh,  how  I  am  to  get  through 

CH.  vin  A  SPIRIT  OF  REVOLT  107 

this  day,  to  talk  through  all  this  day,  is  the  thought  of 
every  morning.  .  .  .  This  is  the  sting  of  death.  Why  do 
I  wish  to  leave  this  world  ?  God  knows  I  do  not  expect  a 
heaven  beyond,  but  that  He  would  set  me  down  in  St. 
Giles's,  at  a  Kaiserswerth,  there  to  find  my  work  and  my 
salvation  in  my  work/' 


Such  cries  from  the  heart,  cries  for  the  food  for  which 
she  was  hungering  and  which  her  parents  could  or  would 
not  let  her  take,  filled  many  a  sheet  of  Florence  Nightingale's 
diaries,  letters,  and  memoranda.  "  Mountains  of  diffi- 
culties," as  she  says  in  one  place,  were  "  piled  up  "  around 
her.  Looking  forward  to  a  New  Year  (1851)  she  could  see 
nothing  in  front  of  her  but  the  same  unsatisfying  routine. 
"  The  next  three  weeks,"  she  said,  in  one  of  her  written 
colloquies  with  herself,  "  you  will  have  company ;  then  a 
fortnight  alone  ;  then  a  few  weeks  of  London,  then  Embley  ; 
then  perhaps  go  abroad  ;  then  three  months  of  company  at 
Lea  Hurst ;  next  the  same  round  of  Embley  company." 
And  then,  with  a  humorous  transition  not  infrequent  in 
her  musings,  she  asks,  "  But  why  can't  you  get  up  in  the 
morning  ?  I  have  nothing  I  like  so  much  as  unconsciousness, 
but  I  will  try."  As  the  year  advanced  a  more  decided  spirit 
of  revolt  begins  to  appear  in  her  diaries.  One  of  her  per- 
plexities hitherto  had  been  a  doubt  whether  the  "  mountains 
of  difficulties  "  were  to  be  taken  as  occasions  for  submission 
to  God's  will,  or  whether  they  were  piled  up  in  order  to  try 
her  patience  and  her  resolve,  and  were  to  be  surmounted 
by  some  initiative  of  her  own.  She  now  began  to  interpret 
God's  will  in  the  latter  sense.  "  I  must  take  some  things," 
she  wrote  on  Whitsunday  (June  8,  1851),  "  as  few  as  I  can, 
to  enable  me  to  live.  I  must  take  them,  they  will  not  be 
given  me  ;  take  them  in  a  true  spirit  of  doing  Thy  will, 
not  of  snatching  them  for  my  own  will.  I  must  do  without 
some  things,  as  many  as  I  can,  which  I  could  not  have 
without  causing  more  suffering  than  I  am  obliged  to  cause 
any  way."  She  would  cease  looking  for  the  sympathy 
and  understanding  of  her  mother  and  sister.  "  I  have 
been  so  long  treated  as  a  child  and  have  so  long  allowed 

io8         SECOND  VISIT  TO  KAISERSWERTH         PT.I 

myself  to  be  treated  as  a  child."  She  would  submit  to  such 
tutelage  no  longer. 

Various  plans  had  at  different  times  found  place  in  her 
dreams.  She  would  collect  funds  for  founding  a  sisterhood, 
an  institution,  a  hospital ;  but  one  thing  she  saw  clearly 
and  consistently.  If  she  were  ever  to  have  an  opportunity 
of  doing  good  work  in  nursing  or  otherwise  in  service  to  the 
poor,  she  must  first  learn  her  business.  There  is  a  long  letter 
of  1850  from  her  to  her  father  in  which  she  argues  the  point, 
not  specifically  with  reference  to  herself,  but  as  a  general 
proposition.  Something  more  than  good  intention  is 
necessary  in  order  to  do  good.  Philanthropy  is  a  matter 
of  skill,  and  an  apprenticeship  in  it  is  necessary.  An 
opportunity  occurred  sooner  than  she  had  dared  to  hope 
which  enabled  her  to  serve  such  an  apprenticeship.  Her 
sister  was  still  in  bad  health,  and  a  visit  to  Carlsbad  was 
again  proposed.  She  insisted  on  being  allowed  to  start 
with  her  mother  and  her  sister,  and  to  spend  at  Kaiserswerth 
the  time  that  they  would  spend  upon  the  cure  and  subsequent 

She  reached  Kaiserswerth  early  in  July  and  stayed 
there  as  an  inmate  of  the  Institution  until  October  8. 


Kaiserswerth  is  an  ancient  town  on  the  Rhine,  on  the 
right  bank,  six  miles  below  Diisseldorf.  In  its  Church  of 
the  twelfth  century  a  reliquary  is  shown,  in  which  are 
preserved  the  bones  of  St.  Suitbertus,  who  came  there  from 
Ireland  to  preach  the  Gospel  in  710.  Eleven  centuries 
later,  a  Protestant  pastor  of  Kaiserswerth  repaid  the  debt 
to  the  British  Isles  by  founding  the  famous  Institution  for 
Deaconesses  which  was  now  to  give  Florence  Nightingale 
an  important  part  of  her  training.  The  order  of  deaconesses, 
as  she  was  careful  to  point  out  in  her  account  of  Kaiserswerth, 
was  known  in  the  Primitive  Church  ;  and  long  before  St. 
Vincent  de  Paul  established  the  Sisters  of  Mercy  in  1633, 
Protestant  communities  had  in  1457  organized  "  Presby- 
terae,"  since  "  many  women  chose  a  single  state,  not  because 
they  expected  thereby  to  reach  a  super-eminent  degree  of 


holiness,  but  that  they  might  be  better  able  to  care  for  the 
sick  and  young/'  It  was  in  1823-24  that  the  young  pastor 
of  Kaiserswerth,  Theodor  Fliedner,  set  out  on  a  journey 
to  Holland  and  England  to  beg  for  funds  to  relieve  his 
parish,  which  had  been  ruined  by  the  failure  of  a  silk-mill. 
In  England,  the  little  Princess  Victoria  headed  his  list  of 
subscribers.  In  London  he  met  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Fry  and 
was  greatly  impressed  with  her  work  in  Newgate.  Shortly 
after  his  return  he  founded  (1826)  the  Rhenish- Westphalian 
Prison  Association.  Presently  he  met  a  kindred  spirit  in 
Friederike  Miinster,  a  woman  in  comparatively  easy  circum- 
stances who  was  devoting  herself  to  reformatory  work. 
They  married,  and  in  1833 — m  a  tiny  summer-house  in 
the  pastor's  garden — a  refuge  was  opened  for  the  reception 
of  a  single  discharged  prisoner.  Three  years  later,  they 
added,  on  an  equally  modest  scale  at  first,  an  Infant  School, 
and  a  Hospital  in  which  to  train  volunteer-nurses  as 
deaconesses.  From  these  humble  beginnings  has  grown 
a  great  congeries  of  institutions,  the  fame  of  which  has 
spread  throughout  the  philanthropic  world.  There  are 
thirty  branch  or  daughter  houses  in  various  parts  of 
Germany.  They  are  to  be  found  also  at  Jerusalem,  Alex- 
andria, Cairo,  Beirut,  Smyrna,  and  Bucharest.  "  Not  only 
its  own  daughter  houses,  but  all  independent  institutions 
for  deaconesses,  owe  their  existence  to  Kaiserswerth,  for 
all  subsequent  work  wrought  by  deaconesses  whether  in 
France,  Switzerland,  or  America,  whether  Lutheran, 
Methodist,  or  Episcopalian,  has  been  the  fruit  of  the  Kaisers- 
werth tree."  * 

But  the  forest  began  as  a  tiny  acorn.  Pastor  Fliedner 
started  his  work  not  with  grandiose  schemes  or  full-fledged 
programmes,  but  with  individual  cases  and  personal  devotion. 
This  was  a  point  to  which  Miss  Nightingale  called  particular 
attention  in  her  account  of  the  place.  "It  is  impossible 
not  to  observe,"  she  said,  "  how  different  was  the  beginning 
from  the  way  in  which  institutions  are  generally  founded— 
a  list  of  subscribers  with  some  royal  and  noble  names  at  the 
head — a  double  column  of  rules  and  regulations — a  collection 
of  great  names  begin  (and  end)  most  new  enterprises.  The 

1  History  of  Nursing,  vol.  ii.  p.  4. 


regulations  are  made  without  experience.  Honorary 
members  abound,  but  where  are  the  working  ones  ?  The 
scheme  is  excellent,  but  what  are  the  results  ?  "  Miss 
Nightingale's  intensely  practical  genius  had  ever  a  holy 
horror  of  prospectuses.  In  some  notes  written  on  June  15, 
1848,  I  find  this  passage  :— 

Eschew  Prospectuses  ;  they're  the  devil,  and  make  one  sick. 
It  is  like  making  out  a  bill  of  fare  when  you  have  not  a  single 
pound  of  meat.  What  do  the  cookery  books  say  ?  First  catch 
your  hare.  All  the  instances  on  the  Continent  have  begun  in 
one  of  two  ways.  At  Kaiserswerth,  a  clergyman  and  his  wife 
have  begun,  not  with  a  Prospectus,  but  with  a  couple  of  hospital 
beds,  and  have  offered,  not  an  advertisement,  but  a  home  to 
young  women  willing  to  come.  At  Berne,  a  Mdlle.  Wiirstenberger, 
a  woman  of  rank  and  education,  goes  to  Kaiserswerth  to  learn, 
and  her  friend  to  Strassburg.  They  return  and  open  a  hospital 
with  two  rooms,  increase  their  funds,  others  join  them  and  are 
taught  by  them.  ...  To  publish  first  is  as  bad  a  practical  bull 
as  is  the  name  of  the  Prospective  Review. 

A  few  years  were  to  pass,  and  Florence  Nightingale  herself 
was  to  begin  her  work  in  the  world  not  with  a  programme, 
but  with  a  deed. 

The  institutions  of  Kaiserswerth,  when  she  was  there  in 
1851,  were  still  on  a  comparatively  modest  scale.  They 
comprised,  as  she  enumerates  them,  a  Hospital  (with 
100  beds),  an  Infant  School,  a  Penitentiary  (with  12 
inmates),  an  Orphan  Asylum,  and  a  Normal  School 
for  schoolmistresses.  There  were  in  all  116  deaconesses, 
of  whom  94  were  "  consecrated,"  the  remainder  being 
still  on  probation.  The  "  consecration "  consisted  only 
of  "a  solemn  blessing  in  the  Church,  without  vows  of 
any  kind."  Of  the  116  deaconesses,  67  were  on  service 
in  other  parts  of  Germany,  or  abroad  ;  the  rest  were  engaged 
in  working  the  various  institutions  at  Kaiserswerth  itself. 
After  six  months'  trial  they  received  a  modest  salary,  just 
enough  to  provide  their  clothes.  There  was  no  other 
reward,  except  that  the  Mother  House  stood  open  to  receive 
those  who  might  fall  ill  or  become  infirm  in  its  service. 
Everything  was  clean  and  well  ordered,  but  there  was  no 
luxury ;  the  board  was  simple  to  the  verge  of  roughness. 
The  place  was  pervaded  by  two  notes.  It  was  a  place  of 


training,  and  a  place  of  consecrated  service.  The  training 
was  both  in  practice  and  by  precept.  Every  week  the 
pastor  gave  a  conversational  lecture  to  the  deaconesses, 
finding  out  from  each  the  difficulties  she  might  have 
experienced  in  her  work,  and  suggesting  how  they  could 
best  be  met.  The  education  of  the  young,  the  ministration 
of  the  sick,  the  art  of  district  visiting,  the  yet  more  difficult 
work  of  rescue  and  reformation,  all  were  taught. 

In  such  a  place  as  this,  Florence  Nightingale  found 
by  actual  experience,  as  already  she  had  learnt  to  expect 
from  reading  the  reports,  the  realization  in  some  degree  of 
her  most  earnest  desires.  The  training  in  nursing  was,  it 
is  true,  not  particularly  good  ;  it  fell  far  short  of  the  pro- 
fessional standard  which  the  Nightingale  School  was  after- 
wards to  set  up.  She  objected  strongly  in  later  years  to 
current  statements  that  her  own  training  was  confined  to 
Kaiserswerth.  ;<  The  nursing  there/'  she  wrote,  "  was 
nil.  The  hygiene  horrible.  The  hospital  was  certainly 
the  worst  part  of  Kaiserswerth.  I  took  all  the  training 
that  was  to  be  had — there  was  none  to  be  had  in  England, 
but  Kaiserswerth  was  far  from  having  trained  me."  On 
the  other  hand  "  the  tone  was  excellent,  admirable.  And 
Pastor  Fliedner's  addresses  were  the  very  best  I  ever  heard. 
The  penitentiary  out-door  work  and  vegetable  gardening 
under  a  very  capable  Sister  were  excellently  adapted  to 
the  case.  And  Pastor  Fliedner's  solemn  and  reverential 
teaching  to  us  of  the  sad  events  of  hospital  life  was  what 
I  have  never  heard  in  England."  1  But  here,  at  Kaisers- 
werth, Miss  Nightingale  found  "  a  better  life  for  women," 
a  scope  for  the  exercise  of  "  morally  active  "  powers.  And 
here,  though  the  field  was  limited,  was  provided  in  some 
sort  the  training  which  alone  could  fit  women  for  larger 
responsibilities  elsewhere.  Here  was  "  the  service  of  man  " 
organized  as  "  the  service  of  God  "  ;  here  was  opportunity 
for  the  Dedicated  Life,  as  she  had  found  it  also  in  the 
Trinita  de'  Monti. 

Her  manner  of  life  at  Kaiserswerth  and  her  joy  in  it 
were  told  in  letters  to  her  mother  : — 

1  Letter  to  Mrs.  C.  S.  Roundell,  August  4,  1896. 


On  Sunday  I  took  the  sick  boys  a  long  walk  along  the  Rhine  ; 
two  Sisters  were  with  me  to  help  me  to  keep  order.  They  were 
all  in  ecstasies  with  the  beauty  of  the  scenery,  and  really  I  thought 
it  very  fine  too  in  its  way — the  broad  mass  of  waters  flowing 
ever  on  slowly  and  calmly  to  their  destination,  and  all  that 
unvarying  horizon — so  like  the  slow,  calm,  earnest,  meditative 
German  character. 

The  world  here  fills  my  life  with  interest,  and  strengthens 
me  in  body  and  mind.  I  succeeded  directly  to  an  office,  and 
am  now  in  another,  so  that  until  yesterday  I  never  had  time 
even  to  send  my  things  to  the  wash.  We  have  ten  minutes  for 
each  of  our  meals,  of  which  we  have  four.  We  get  up  at  5  ; 
breakfast  J  before  6.  The  patients  dine  at  n  ;  the  Sisters 
at  12.  We  drink  tea  (i.e.  a  drink  made  of  ground  rye) 
between  2  and  3,  and  sup  at  7.  We  have  two  ryes  and  two 
broths — ryes  at  6  and  3,  broths  at  12  and  7;  bread  at  the  two 
former,  vegetables  at  12.  Several  evenings  in  the  week  we 
collect  in  the  Great  Hall  for  a  Bible  lesson.  The  Pastor  sent  for 
me  once  to  give  me  some  of  his  unexampled  instructions ;  the 
man's  wisdom  and  knowledge  of  human  nature  is  wonderful ; 
he  has  an  instinctive  acquaintance  with  every  character  in 
his  place.  Except  that  once  I  have  only  seen  him  in  his 

The  operation  to  which  Mrs.  Bracebridge  alludes  was  an 
amputation  at  which  I  was  present,  but  which  I  did  not  mention 

to ,  knowing  that  she  would  see  no  more  in  my  interest  in 

it  than  the  pleasure  dirty  boys  have  in  playing  in  the  puddles 
about  a  butcher's  shop.  I  find  the  deepest  interest  in  everything 
here,  and  am  so  well  in  body  and  mind.  This  is  Life.  Now 
I  know  what  it  is  to  live  and  to  love  life,  and  really  I  should  be 
sorry  now  to  leave  life.  I  know  you  will  be  glad  to  hear  this, 
dearest  Mum.  God  has  indeed  made  life  rich  in  interests  and 
blessings,  and  I  wish  for  no  other  earth,  no  other  world  but  this. 

The  room  in  which  Miss  Nightingale  slept  during  her 
residence  at  Kaiserswerth  was  in  the  Orphan  Asylum. 
She  took  her  meals  with  the  Deaconesses.  The  Spartan 
severity,  but  no  less  the  beautiful  spirit  of  the  place,  were 
clear  in  her  recollection  nearly  half  a  century  later.  In  1897 
the  authorities  of  the  British  Museum  applied  to  her  for 
a  copy  of  the  pamphlet  on  Kaiserswerth  which  she  had 
printed  in  1851.  The  pencilled  note  which  she  sent  with  a 
torn  copy  of  the  pamphlet,  the  only  one  she  could  find,  is 
preserved  in  the  Museum  Library.  "  I  was  twice  in  training 
there  myself,"  she  wrote  (September  24, 1897).  "  Of  course 


since  then,  Hospital  and  District  nursing  have  made  giant 
strides.  Indeed  District  nursing  has  been  invented.  But 
never  have  I  met  with  a  higher  tone,  a  purer  devotion, 
than  there.  There  was  no  neglect.  It  was  the  more 
remarkable  because  many  of  the  Deaconesses  had  been 
only  peasants — none  were  gentlewomen  (when  I  was  there). 
The  food  was  poor.  No  coffee  but  bean  -  coffee.  No 
luxury ;  but  cleanliness."  Pastor  Fliedner  told  a  visitor 
to  Kaiserswerth  that  "  no  person  had  ever  passed  so  dis- 
tinguished an  examination,  or  shown  herself  so  thoroughly 
mistress  of  all  she  had  to  learn,  as  Miss  Nightingale."  l 


Happy  as  Miss  Nightingale  was  at  Kaiserswerth,  there 
was  yet  one  thing  lacking.  She  wished,  it  is  true,  for  no 
other  earth  ;  she  had  found  her  pictured  heaven  ;  her  life 
was  full  and  rich.  Yet  with  all  her  self-reliance,  and  even 
in  the  moment  of  first  victory  in  her  long  struggle  for  self- 
expression,  she  yearned,  woman-like,  for  sympathy.  Nay, 
and  not  only  woman-like.  "  Not  till  we  can  think,"  said 
Carlyle,  "  that  here  and  there  one  is  thinking  of  us,  one  is 
loving  us,  does  this  waste  earth  become  a  peopled  garden." 
It  was  not  enough  to  Florence  that  she  should  have  had 
her  way  and  that  her  parents  should  have  acquiesced. 
Her  loving  heart  craved  for  their  positive  sympathy  ;  her 
mind,  half  leaning  for  all  its  masterfulness,  demanded  that 
what  she  had  decided  should  be  accepted  by  those  dear 
to  her  as  their  choice  also.  "  I  should  be  as  happy  here," 
she  wrote  to  her  mother  (August  31),  "  as  the  day  is  long, 
if  I  could  hope  that  I  had  your  smile,  your  blessing,  your 
sympathy  upon  it ;  without  which  I  cannot  be  quite  happy. 
My  beloved  people,  I  cannot  bear  to  grieve  you.  Life  and 
everything  in  it  that  charms  you,  you  would  sacrifice  for  me  ; 
but  unknown  to  you  is  my  thirst,  unseen  by  you  are  waters 
which  would  save  me.  To  save  me,  I  know  would  be  to 
bless  yourselves,  whose  love  for  me  passes  the  love  of  women. 
Oh  how  shall  I  show  you  love  and  gratitude  in  return,  yet 

1  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert's  speech  at  the  Nightingale  Fund  Meeting,  Nov. 
29,  1855. 

VOL.  I  I 


not  so  perish  that  you  chiefly  would  mourn  !  Give  me  time, 
give  me  faith.  Trust  me,  help  me.  I  feel  within  me  that 
I  could  gladden  your  loving  hearts  which  now  I  wound. 
Say  to  me,  '  Follow  the  dictates  of  that  spirit  within  thee.' 
Oh  my  beloved  people,  that  spirit  shall  never  lead  me  to 
anything  unworthy  of  one  who  is  yours  in  love."  *  But 
her  mother  and  her  sister,  though  they  loved  and  admired 
her,  or  perhaps  from  their  point  of  view  because  they  did 
so,  were  unable  to  give  any  such  active  sympathy  as  that 
for  which  she  craved.  Her  sister  hoped  that  the  visit  to 
Kaiserswerth  would  be  only  an  episode.  It  was  a  good 
thing,  she  had  written  to  her  mother,  for  Florence  to  go 
there,  "as  we  can  get  her  back  sooner  to  Lea  Hurst."  To 
Florence  herself  she  wrote  affectionately,  but  yet  with 
gentle  irony.  She  sent  a  lively  letter  describing  in  detail 
the  birth  of  a  friend's  twins  :  "I  tell  you,  as  you  are  going 
to  be  a  sage  femme,  I  suppose."  Mrs.  Nightingale,  for 
her  part,  had  acquiesced  in  the  visit  to  Kaiserswerth,  but 
was  already  wondering  what  people  would  think  of  her 
daughter's  escapade.  "  I  have  not  mentioned  to  any  one," 
wrote  Florence  (July  16),  "  where  I  am,  and  should  also 
be  very  sorry  that  the  old  ladies  should  know.  With  regard, 
however,  to  your  fear  of  what  people  will  say,  the  people 
whose  opinion  you  most  care  about,  it  has  been  their  earnest 
wish  for  years  that  I  should  come  here.  The  Bunsens 
(I  know  he  wishes  one  of  his  own  daughters  would  come), 
the  Bracebridges,  the  Sam  Smiths,  Lady  Inglis,  the  Sidney 
Herberts,  the  Plunketts,  all  wish  it ;  and  I  know  that 
others — Lady  Byron,  Caroline  Bathurst,  Mr.  Tremenheere, 
Mr.  Rich  (whose  opinions  however  I  have  not  asked)— 
would  think  it  a  very  desirable  thing  for  everybody.  .  .  . 
With  regard  to  telling  people  the  fact  (afterwards)  of  my 
having  been  here,  I  can  see  no  difficulty.  The  Herberts, 
as  you  know,  even  commissioned  me  to  do  something  for 
them  here.  The  fact  itself  will  pain  none  of  them."  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Herbert,  who  were  at  Homburg,  presently  paid 
her  a  visit  at  Kaiserswerth. 

Mrs.  Nightingale  and  her  elder  daughter  reached  Cologne 

1  Much  of  this  appeal  was  suggested  to  Florence,  in  almost  identical 
words  (as  an  extant  letter  shows),  by  her  Aunt  Mai. 


on  their  way  home  in  October  1851,  and  there  Florence 
rejoined  them.  "  Our  dear  child  Florence,"  wrote  the 
mother  to  Madame  Mohl  (October  9),  "  came  to  us  yesterday, 
and  is  gone  this  morning  to  visit  certain  Deaconesses  and 
others.  I  long  to  be  at  home  and  among  our  people.  Daily 
and  hourly  I  congratulate  myself  that  our  home  is  where  it 
is.  Oh  what  a  land  of  justice  and  freedom  and  all  good 
things  it  is,  compared  to  what  we  have  seen,  and  how 
surprising  that  with  all  our  advantages  and  our  freedom 
won  we  should  not  be  so  much  better  than  other  people. 
Well,  I  hope  Florence  will  be  able  to  apply  all  the  fine 
things  she  has  been  learning,  to  do  a  little  to  make  us  better. 
Parthe  and  I  are  much  too  idle  to  help  and  too  apt  to  be 
satisfied  with  things  as  they  are." 



Who  would  be  free,  themselves  must  strike  the  blow. — BYRON. 

THE  three  months  which  Miss  Nightingale  spent  at  Kaisers- 
werth  in  1851  were  a  turning-point  in  her  career,  but  they 
were  not  immediately  effectual  in  altering  the  tenor  of  her 
life.  The  battle  for  freedom  was  not  yet  completely  won ; 
but  the  "  mountains  of  difficulty  "  in  her  way  had  been 
turned,  and  henceforth  the  resistance  offered  to  her  was 
but  a  rear-guard  action. 

A  note  of  serenity,  in  marked  contrast  to  the  storm  and 
distress  of  earlier  years,  now  appears  in  some  of  her  letters. 
She  had  firmly  resolved  on  taking  her  life  into  her  own 
hands  ;  and  at  Kaiserswerth  she  had  already  served  some 
apprenticeship.  She  was  resolved  no  less  firmly  to  follow 
up  the  advantage  ;  and,  though  there  were  still  to  be  some 
difficulties  ahead,  she  could  afford  to  be  patient  for  a  while  :— 

(To  Miss  H.  Bonham  Carter.)  UMBERSLADE,  Jan.  8. 
Brussels  Sprouts  is  at  it  already,  I  mean  at  correspondence. 
I  mention  it  to  show  how  little  women's  occupations  are  respected, 
when  people  can  think  that  a  woman  has  time  to  spin  out  long 
theories  with  every  young  fool  who  visits  at  her  house.  This 
place  is  grand — Inigo  Jones,  and  Papa  is  content.  ...  I  like 
Dr.  Johnson  ;  but  I  can  always  talk  better  to  a  medical  man 
than  to  any  one  else.  They  have  not  that  detestable  nationality 
which  makes  it  so  difficult  to  talk  with  an  Englishman.  I  sup- 
pose the  habit  of  examining  organisations  gives  them  this.  .  .  . 
Poor  Cassandra  has  found  an  unexpected  ally  in  a  young  surgeon 


CH.  ix  A  BIRTHDAY  LETTER  (1852)  117 

of  a  London  hospital,  a  son  of  Dr.  Johnson  who  sits  next  Papa  at 
the  table  d'hote.  The  account  he  gives  of  the  nurses  beats  every- 
thing that  even  I  know  of.  This  young  prophet  says  that  they 
are  all  drunkards,  without  exception,  Sisters  and  all,  and  that 
there  are  but  two  nurses  whom  the  surgeon  can  trust  to  give 
the  patients  their  medicines.  I  thought  you  would  be  pleased  to 
hear  how  bad  they  are,  so  I  tell  you.  Johnson  is  extraordinarily 
careful,  but  he  does  not  strike  me  as  having  genius  like  Gully. 
The  company  is  of  a  nature  which  would  give  Mama  some  hopes 
of  me  that  I  should  learn  "  the  value  of  good  society  "  by  the 
contrast.  .  .  . 

(To  her  Father.]  May  12  [1852].  On  my  32nd  birth- 
day I  think  I  must  write  a  word  of  acknowledgment  to  you. 
I  am  glad  to  think  that  my  youth  is  past,  and  rejoice  that  it 
never,  never  can  return — that  time  of  follies  and  bondage,  of 
unfulfilled  hopes  and  disappointed  ^experience,  when  a  man 
possesses  nothing,  not  even  himself.  I  am  glad  to  have  lived  ; 
though  it  has  been  a  life  which,  except  as  the  necessary  prepara- 
tion for  another,  few  would  accept.  I  hope  now  that  I  have 
come  into  possession  of  myself.  I  hope  that  I  have  escaped 
from  that  bondage  which  knows  not  how  to  distinguish  between 
"  bad  habits  "  and  "  duties  " — terms  often  used  synonymously 
by  all  the  world.  It  is  too  soon  to  holloa  before  you  are  out  of 
the  wood ;  and  like  the  Magdalen  in  Correggio's  picture,  I  see 
the  dark  wood  behind,  the  sharp  stones  in  front  only  with  too 
much  clearness.  Of  clearness,  however,  there  cannot  be  too 
much.  But,  as  in  the  picture,  there  is  light.  I  hope  that  I  may 
live  ;  a  thing  which  I  have  not  often  been  able  to  say,  because 
I  think  I  have  learnt  something  which  it  would  be  a  pity  to 
waste.  And  I  am  ever  yours,  dear  father,  in  struggle  as  in 
peace,  with  thanks  for  ah1  your  kind  care,  F.  N. 

When  I  speak  of  the  disappointed  inexperience  of  youth,  of 
course  I  accept  that,  not  only  as  inevitable,  but  as  the  beautiful 
arrangement  of  Infinite  Wisdom,  which  cannot  create  us  gods, 
but  which  will  not  create  us  animals,  and  therefore  wills  mankind 
to  create  mankind  by  their  own  experience — a  disposition  of 
Perfect  Goodness  which  no  one  can  quarrel  with.  I  shall  be  very 
ready  to  read  you,  when  I  come  home,  any  of  my  "  Works/'  in 
your  own  room  before  breakfast,  if  you  have  any  desire  to  hear 
them. — Au  revoir,  dear  Papa. 


There  were  various  reasons  for  the  comparative  serenity 
of  Miss  Nightingale's  mind  during  this  period  of  pause.     One 

n8  THE  WATER-CURE  PT.  i 

was  the  obvious  call  of  filial  duty  for  the  moment.  Her 
father  was  in  poor  health,  and  had  been  advised  to  take 
the  water-cure  under  Dr.  Johnson  at  Umberslade  Park, 
in  Worcestershire.  Florence,  being  herself  convalescent  at 
the  time  from  an  attack  of  the  measles,  was  the  more  ready 
to  companion  her  father.  She  was  at  Umberslade  with  him 
for  some  weeks  at  the  beginning,  and  again  at  the  end,  of 
the  year.  Her  observation  of  some  of  the  patients  there, 
as  in  a  former  year  at  Malvern,  was  the  origin  of  an  epi- 
grammatic definition  which  I  find  in  one  of  her  note-books  : 
"  The  water-cure  :  a  highly  popular  amusement  within  the 
last  few  years  amongst  athletic  invalids  who  have  felt  the 
tedium  vitae,  and  those  indefinite  diseases  which  a  large 
income  and  unbounded  leisure  are  so  well  calculated  to 
produce."  Then,  again,  towards  the  end  of  the  year,  her 
kinswoman,  "  Aunt  Evans,"  was  smitten  down.  She  was 
the  sister  of  her  father's  mother,  and  died  at  the  age  of  ninety. 
Florence  attended  her  in  her  last  illness,  and  as  emergency- 
man  made  all  the  arrangements  for  her  funeral.  George 
Eliot  was,  I  believe,  distantly  connected  with  "  Aunt 
Evans's  "  family  ;  and  it  was  in  this  year  that  she  and 
Florence  met.  "  I  had  a  note  from  Miss  Florence  Nightin- 
gale yesterday,"  wrote  George  Eliot  in  July  1852  ;  "I  was 
much  pleased  with  her.  There  is  a  loftiness  of  mind  about 
her  which  is  well  expressed  by  her  form  and  manner."  1 
Florence  also  at  this  time  called  upon  Mrs.  Browning,  who 
in  a  letter  to  a  friend,  three  years  later,  said  :  "I  remember 
her  face  and  her  graceful  manner  and  the  flowers  she  sent 
me  afterwards.  She  is  an  earnest,  noble  woman."  2  In 
August  1852  Miss  Nightingale  visited  Ireland,  and  inspected 
the  Dublin  hospitals,  somewhat,  it  seems,  to  her  disappoint- 
ment. She  went  in  September  with  her  father  to  stay  with 
Sir  James  Clark,  Queen  Victoria's  physician,  at  Birk  Hall, 
near  Ballater.  She  always  got  on  well,  as  we  have  just 
heard,  with  medical  men,  and  the  opportunity  of  discussing 
her  plans  and  thoughts  with  so  eminent  a  physician  must 
have  pleased  her  greatly. 

1  George  Eliot's  Life  as  Related  in  her  Letters  and  Journals,  edited  by 
J.  W.  Cross,  vol.  i.  p.  285. 

z  Letters  of  Elizabeth  Barrett  Browning,  vol.  i.  p.  188. 

CH.  ix          MISS  NIGHTINGALE'S  "  WORKS  "  119 


The  letter  to  her  father,  given  above,  refers  to  Miss 
Nightingale's  "  Works  "  ;  and  herein  is  to  be  found  a  second 
explanation  of  this  peaceful  interlude  in  her  life.  She  had, 
as  I  have  said,  renounced  a  literary  career ;  but  she  drew  a 
sharp  distinction  between  what  she  called  literature  for  its 
own  sake,  and  writing  as  subservient  to  action.  She  was 
intensely  anxious  to  find  some  theological  sanction,  less 
assailable  than  she  deemed  the  popular  creeds  to  be,  for 
her  religion  of  practical  service.  Again,  as  I  have  also  said, 
she  was  determined  to  open  up  a  new  sphere  of  usefulness 
for  women.  These  were  the  subjects  of  her  "  Works,"  which 
comprised  "  a  Novel  "  and  a  book  on  "  Religion."  Of  the 
novel,  no  manuscript  has  been  found  among  her  papers. 
But  in  one  of  three  volumes  of  Suggestions  for  Thought, 
which  she  printed  privately  in  1860,  there  is  a  section 
entitled  "  Cassandra,"  dealing  with  the  life  at  home  of  an 
ordinary  English  gentlewoman.  It  may  be  conjectured 
that  the  form  of  the  novel  was  abandoned  after  1852,  and 
the  theme  treated  instead  in  the  pages  of  "  Cassandra." 
The  manuscript  book  on  "  Religion  "  was  doubtless  enlarged 
between  1852  and  1860  into  the  main  portion  of  the  Sugges- 
tions for  Thought,  of  which  the  first  volume  was  dedicated 
"  To  the  Artizans  of  England." 

Already  in  1851,  in  a  sheet  of  good  resolutions,  Miss 
Nightingale  had  planned  to  devote  some  portion  of  her  life 
at  home  to  giving  "  a  new  religion  to  the  Tailors."  The 
hero  of  Alton  Locke,  published  in  1850,  was,  it  will  be  re- 
membered, a  tailor.  Miss  Nightingale  herself  had  some 
acquaintance  with  operatives  in  the  North  of  England  and 
in  London,  "  among  those  of  what  are  called  '  Holyoake's 
party/  "  1  She  met  these  latter  through  Mr.  Edward  True- 
love,  whom  some  readers  of  earlier  generations  may  still 
remember  as  a  publisher  and  vendor  of  radical  and  "  free- 
thinking  "  literature.  "  The  Literary  and  Scientific  Insti- 
tution "  in  John  Street,  Fitzroy  Square,  was  in  the  'forties 
the  headquarters  of  Owenite  Socialists,  the  Secularists 
1  Letter  to  Sir  John  McNeill,  May  17,  1860. 


(whose  chief  prophet  was  George  Jacob  Holyoake)  and 
other  "  advanced "  persons.  In  1846  Mr.  Truelove  had 
come  up  from  "  Harmony  Hall/'  the  Owenite  community 
at  Tytherley  in  Hampshire,  to  act  as  Secretary  of  the 
Institution  in  John  Street ;  and  in  a  small  house  next  door 
he  set  up  his  shop — afterwards  removed,  successively,  to 
the  Strand  and  High  Holborn.  A  west-end  lady,  who  did 
not  at  first  give  her  name,  used  to  pay  occasional  visits  to 
the  shop  in  John  Street,  and  have  long  conversations  with 
the  wife  of  the  proprietor.  The  lady  was  Miss  Nightingale, 
and  the  acquaintance  developed  into  a  friendship  with  Mrs. 
Truelove,  which  extended  over  many  years.  Mr.  Truelove 
was  an  unworldly  man,  conducting  his  affairs  with  entire 
disregard  for  "  business  principles,"  conventional  opinions, 
and  constituted  authorities.  His  shop,  as  Mr.  Holyoake 
said,  was  one  of  the  "  fortresses  of  prohibited  thought,  not 
garrisoned  without  daring  "  ;  and  provisioned,  it  may  be 
added,  scantily  enough.  Miss  Nightingale  continued  to  see 
Mrs.  Truelove  from  time  to  time  in  later  years  ;  wrote  to  her 
occasionally  ;  sent  her  books  and  various  presents  regularly  ; 
and  in  times  of  her  husband's  difficulties  and  (literally) 
trials,  never  withheld  sympathy. 

Miss  Nightingale's  object,  in  her  first  expeditions  to 
John  Street,  had  been  to  discover  and  discuss  the  kind  of 
literature  affected  by  the  more  intelligent  working-men.  The 
conclusion  at  which  she  arrived  was  that  "  the  most  thinking 
and  conscientious  of  the  artizans  have  no  religion  at  all." 1 
She  set  to  work,  accordingly,  to  find  a  new  religion  for  them. 
In  this  undertaking  she  took  much  counsel  with  one  of  her 
aunts.  This  was  "  Aunt  Mai,"  her  father's  sister,  Mary 
Shore,  married  to  Mr.  Samuel  Smith,  her  mother's  brother. 
A  large  number  of  her  letters  on  religious  subjects  was  pre- 
served by  Miss  Nightingale.  They  show  spiritual  insight, 
and  a  considerable  talent  in  speculative  thought.  The 
postscript  of  Miss  Nightingale's  letter  to  her  father,  given 
above,  contains  one  of  the  fundamental  ideas  in  her  scheme 
of  theology — the  idea  of  Perfect  Goodness,  willing  that 
mankind  shall  create  mankind  by  man's  own  experience. 
The  same  idea  was  suggested  by  Aunt  Mai  when  she  wrote 

1  Letter  to  Sir  John  McNeill,  May  17,  1860. 


to  her  niece  :  "  The  purpose  of  God  is  to  accomplish  the 
welfare  of  man,  not  as  a  gift  from  Him,  but  as  to  be  attained 
for  each  individual  and  for  the  whole  race  by  the  right 
exercise  of  the  capabilities  of  each." 

During  1851  and  1852  aunt  and  niece  corresponded  at 
great  length  on  these  high  matters,  and  by  the  end  of  the 
latter  year  Miss  Nightingale  had  her  new  religion  ready 
for  the  criticism  of  her  friends.  "  Many  thanks/'  she  wrote 
(Nov.  19)  to  her  cousin  Hilary,  "  for  your  letter  of  corrections 
and  annotations,  all  of  which  I  have  adopted.  I  should 
much  like  to  have  a  regular  talk  with  you  about  the  Novel. 
I  have  not  the  least  idea  whether  I  shall  have  to  remodel 
the  Novel  and  '  Religion '  entirely ;  for  I  am  so  sick  of  it 
that  I  lose  all  discrimination  about  the  ensemble  and  the 
form/'  Her  object  is  explained  in  a  letter  of  about  the 
same  date  to  another  friend  : — 

(To  R.  Monckton  Milnes.)  I  am  going  abroad  soon.  Before 
I  go,  I  am  thinking  of  asking  you  whether  you  would  look  over 
certain  things  which  I  have  written  for  the  working-men  on  the 
subject  of  belief  in  a  God.  All  the  moral  and  intellectual  among 
them  seem  going  over  to  atheism,  or  at  least  to  a  vague  kind  of 
theism.  I  have  read  them  to  one  or  two,  and  they  have  liked 
them.  I  should  have  liked  to  have  asked  you  if  you  think  them 
likely  to  be  read  by  more ;  but  you  are  perhaps  not  interested 
in  the  subject,  or  you  have  no  time,  which  is  fully  taken  up  with 
other  things.  If  you  tell  me  this,  it  will  be  no  surprise  or  dis- 

Lord  Houghton  read  the  manuscript  attentively,  and 
did  not  forget  it.  Several  years  later,  when  Miss  Nightingale 
was  ill,  and  thought  likely  to  die,  he  wrote  to  her  suggesting 
that  if  she  had  made  no  other  arrangements  for  the  pre- 
servation and  possible  publication  of  her  essay,  she  might 
think  of  entrusting  it  to  him.  "  I  have  often  thought/'  he 
said  (March  n,  '61),  "  of  asking  you  what  you  meant  to  do 
with  the  papers  you  have  written  on  social  and  speculative 
subjects.  They  surely  should  not  be  destroyed  ;  and  yet  I 
hardly  know  to  whom  you  will  entrust  them,  who  would 
not  misunderstand,  misinterpret,  and  misuse  them.  If  you 
were  to  leave  them  in  my  hands,  they  would  be,  at  any  rate, 

1  Life  of  Lord  Houghton,  vol.  i.  p.  475. 

122         FINAL  BLOW  FOR  INDEPENDENCE         PT.  i 

safe  from  irreverent  handling  or  crude  exposure,  and  could 
be  used  in  any  way  more  or  less  future  that  you  might 
think  fit."  By  that  time,  however,  the  work  had  been 
submitted  to  the  judgment  of  other  men  of  letters  ;  and  to 
that  later  period  further  reference  to  the  subject  had  better 
be  postponed. 


The  formulating  of  a  religion,  whether  for  the  tailors  or 
others,  is  no  short  task,  and  Miss  Nightingale's  "  Works  " 
must  have  well  filled  her  mind  during  otherwise  unoccupied 
hours  in  1852.  But  the  "  Works  "  were  only  bye- work.  Her 
main  concern  was  to  continue  her  apprenticeship  in  nursing. 
Some  vexatious  delays  and  difficulties  were  still  to  be 
encountered,  but  she  faced  them  with  a  brighter  confidence 
than  before,  and  the  last  stage  of  the  struggle  wears  an 
aspect  more  of  comedy  than  of  tragedy.  She  had  success- 
fully asserted  her  independence  once  in  going  to  Kaisers- 
werth.  In  an  imaginary  dialogue  with  her  mother,  she 
makes  herself  say,  "  Why,  my  dear,  you  don't  suppose  that 
with  my  '  talents  '  and  my  '  European  reputation  '  and  my 
'  beautiful  letters/  and  all  that,  I'm  going  to  stay  dangling 
about  my  mother's  drawing-room  all  my  life  !  I  shall  go 
and  look  out  for  work,  to  be  sure.  You  must  look  upon  me 
as  your  son.  I  should  have  cost  you  a  great  deal  more  if 
I  had  married  or  been  a  son.  You  must  now  consider  me 
married  or  a  son.  You  were  willing  to  part  with  me  to  be 
married."  In  presenting  the  case  in  this  light  to  her  parents, 
Florence  had  now  a  valuable  ally  in  her  Aunt  Mai.  Some- 
thing of  a  diplomatist,  as  well  as  of  a  philosopher,  was 
within  the  powers  of  that  excellent  woman.  Without  any 
interference  which  could  be  resented,  by  insinuating  a  word 
here,  suggesting  a  phrase  there,  and  pouring  oil  upon  troubled 
waters  everywhere,  Aunt  Mai  did  a  good  deal  to  smooth  the 
last  stages  in  her  niece's  struggle  for  independence. 

Like  all  good  diplomatists,  the  aunt  sought  first  for  a 
basis  of  compromise.  She  was  able  to  sympathize  with 
both  sides.  She  was  wholly  favourable  to  her  niece's 
aspirations  and  claims.  But  as  a  mother  herself,  she  could 
enter  into  the  case  of  her  brother  and  his  wife.  It  was  not 


that  they  were  selfishly  obstructive  ;  it  was  that,  finding  so 
much  interest  and  enjoyment  themselves  in  their  own  way 
of  life,  they  desired  in  all  love  that  the  daughter  should  not 
deprive  herself  of  the  same  privileges.  But  could  not  a 
compromise  be  arranged  ?  Let  it  be  agreed  that  Florence 
should  spend  part  of  each  year  in  pursuit  of  what  the  mother 
considered  her  daughter's  fancies,  and  spend  another  part 
at  home.  This  was  the  arrangement  which  was  in  fact  now 
in  force. 

The  compromise  served  well  enough  for  a  while,  but 
Florence  wanted  something  more ;  and  here,  again,  Aunt 
Mai's  diplomacy  prepared  the  way.  With  a  good  strategic 
eye,  she  saw  that  Mrs.  Nightingale  held  the  key  of  the  posi- 
tion. Mr.  Nightingale  in  his  heart  was  at  one  with  Florence. 
He  admired  her  and  believed  in  her ;  he  was  quite  willing 
that  she  should  go  her  own  way,  and  was  not  reluctant  to 
make  her  some  independent  allowance,  such  as  would  enable 
her  to  conduct  a  mission  or  an  institution.  But,  as  he  said 
to  his  sister,  whenever  he  broached  anything  of  the  kind 
to  his  wife  and  elder  daughter,  he  found  them  united  against 
him.  Mr.  Nightingale  was  one  of  those  amiable  men  who 
are  inclined  to  take  the  line  of  least  resistance.  It  was  Mrs. 
Nightingale's  opposition,  therefore,  that  had  to  be  overcome. 
"  Your  mother,"  reported  the  aunt,  "  would,  I  believe,  be 
most  willing  that  you  undertake  a  mission  like  Mrs.  Fry  or 
Mrs.  Chisholm,1  but  she  thinks  it  necessary  for  your  peace 
and  well-being  that  there  should  be  a  Mr.  Fry  or  Captain 
Chisholm  to  protect  you,  and  in  conscience  she  thinks  it 
right  to  defend  you  from  doing  anything  which  she  thinks 
would  be  an  impediment  to  the  existence  of  Mr.  F.  or  Captain 
C."  A  good  many  mothers,  even  in  these  days,  will,  I  doubt 
not,  be  on  Mrs.  Nightingale's  side.  But  Aunt  Mai,  having 
made  her  sister-in-law  define  the  position,  pressed  the 
advantage  in  an  ingenious  way.  Florence  was  already 
thirty-two  ;  and  a  time  comes  soon  after  that  age  when  even 
the  most  sanguine  mother  begins  to  despair.  It  was  agreed, 
accordingly,  that  "  at  some  future  specified  age  "  Florence 

1  Caroline  Jones  (1808-77)  married  Captain  Chisholm,  1830  ;  opened 
orphan  schools  in  Madras,  1832  ;  befriended  female  emigrants  to  Australia, 
1841-66.  Miss  Nightingale  had  correspondence  with  her  in  1862. 


should  be  free  to  do  the  work  of  a  Mrs.  Fry  or  a  Mrs.  Chis- 
holm  without  the  protection  of  a  Mr.  F.  or  a  Captain  C. 
There  was  even  some  talk  of  obtaining  a  written  agreement 
to  that  effect,  specifying  the  age ;  but  Aunt  Mai  thought 
better  of  such  a  plan,  and  contented  herself  with  calling  in 
another  witness  to  the  verbal  understanding.  This  was  the 
lady — Mrs.  Bracebridge — who  two  years  later  was  to  ac- 
company Miss  Nightingale  on  a  mission  more  renowned  even 
than  that  of  Mrs.  Fry  or  Mrs.  Chisholm.  But  from  the  point 
gained  by  Aunt  Mai's  diplomacy  and  Florence's  own  per- 
sistence, a  logical  consequence  followed.  Presently,  at 
some  future  unspecified  age,  Florence  was  to  be  free  to  con- 
trol some  philanthropic  institution  ;  but  what  would  be  the 
use  of  being  free  to  do  so,  unless  she  were  also  trained  and 
qualified  ? 

Having  lived  and  learnt  among  the  Protestant  Deacon- 
esses in  Germany,  Miss  Nightingale  was  next  determined  to 
do  the  like  among  the  Catholic  Sisters  in  France.  She 
sought  the  good  offices  of  Manning,  whose  acquaintance  she 
had  made  in  Rome  five  years  before,  and  who  had  now 
lately  been  received  into  the  Roman  Communion.  Manning 
put  himself  into  communication  with  his  friend,  the  Abbe 
Des  Genettes,  in  Paris.  The  Abbe  obtained  leave  from  the 
Council  of  the  Sisters  of  Charity  for  the  English  lady  to 
study  their  institutions.  It  had  been  explained  to  him 
that  Miss  Nightingale  was  also  desirous  of  studying  the 
hospitals  in  Paris.  The  Abb6  accordingly  selected  a  House 
belonging  to  the  Sisters  which  would  offer  every  advantage 
in  this  respect.  Her  cousin,  Miss  Hilary  Bonham  Carter, 
who  was  intent  on  the  study  of  art  and  had  been  invited  to 
stay  with  M.  and  Madame  Mohl,  was  to  accompany  her  to 
Paris  ;  and  Lady  Augusta  Bruce  was  also  to  be  of  the  party. 
It  was  in  the  salon  of  Madame  Mohl  that  Lady  Augusta 
met  her  future  husband,  Dean  Stanley. 

Thus,  then,  it  had  been  arranged.  The  necessary 
authorization  from  the  Sisters  had  been  obtained  in  Septem- 
ber. The  start  was  to  be  made  in  November.  But  as  the 
time  approached,  Mrs.  Nightingale  drew  back.  She  wrote 


of  the  plan,  not  as  something  agreed  upon,  but  as  a  new 
proposition.  "  I  am  afraid/'  she  said  to  Aunt  Mai,  "  that 
Flo  is  thinking  of  some  new  expedition,  perhaps  to  Paris. 
I  cannot  make  up  my  mind  to  it."  Florence  was  staying 
at  a  friend's  house  in  London.  Her  father  came  in,  and 
reported  that  her  mother  was  greatly  distressed.  There  was 
company  coming  to  Embley,  and  could  Florence  have  the 
heart  to  leave  her  mother  ?  "  Parthe  would  be  in  hysterics." 
Every  one  would  be  in  despair.  Could  she  not  delay  ?  An 
aged  kinswoman,  moreover,  was  ill,  as  already  related. 
Florence  yielded,  perhaps  more  to  this  last  consideration 
than  to  the  others,  and  the  start  was  postponed.  There 
was  a  lingering  hope  that  the  expedition  to  Paris  might  be 
abandoned,  and  a  suggestion  was  made  to  that  end.  Why 
must  Florence  go  to  the  Sisters,  and  Roman  Catholic  Sisters, 
too — abroad  ?  Why  should  she  not  stay  at  home,  and  con- 
duct some  small  institution  on  her  own  account  ?  There 
was  a  house  available  for  such  a  purpose  at  Cromford  Bridge, 
close  to  their  own  Lea  Hurst,  and  Mr.  Nightingale  would 
provide  the  necessary  funds.  In  this  way  the  best  might 
be  made  of  both  worlds — of  theirs,  and  of  hers.  Florence 
was  touched,  but  remained  of  her  own  mind  : — 

(To  her  sister.)  January  3.  Oh,  my  dearest  Pop,  I  wish  I 
could  tell  you  how  I  love  you  and  thank  you  for  your  kind 
thoughts  as  received  in  your  letter  to-day.  If  you  did  but  know 
how  genial  it  is  to  me,  when  my  dear  people  give  me  a  hope  of 
their  blessing  and  that  they  would  speed  me  on  my  way !  as 
the  kind  thought  of  Cromford  seems  to  say  they  are  ready  to  do. 
I  will  write  to  Mama  about  Paris  and  Cromford.  My  Pop, 
whether  at  one  or  the  other,  my  heart  will  be  with  thee.  Now 
if  these  seem  mere  words,  because  bodily  I  shall  be  leaving  you, 
have  patience  with  me,  my  dearest.  I  hope  that  you  and  I  shall 
live  to  prove  a  true  love  to  each  other.  I  cannot,  during  the 
year's  round,  go  the  way  which  (for  my  sake,  I  know)  you  have 
wished.  There  have  been  times  when,  for  your  dear  sake,  I 
have  tried  to  stifle  the  thoughts  which  I  feel  ingrained  in  my 
nature.  But,  if  that  may  not  be,  I  hope  that  something  better 
shall  be.  If  I  ask  your  blessing  on  a  part  of  my  time  for  my 
absence,  I  hope  to  be  all  the  happier  with  you  for  that  absence 
when  we  are  together. 

Miss  Nightingale  refused  Cromford  Bridge  House  :    it 

126  THE  END  OF  A  STRUGGLE  PT.  i 

was  most  unsuitable  for  the  purpose ;  the  only  more  un- 
suitable place  was  the  "  Forest  Lodge  "  at  Embley,  which 
her  sister  Parthe  had  suggested.  In  the  following  year, 
Florence  joined  the  Sisters  of  Charity  in  Paris.  And  thus, 
after  many  struggles  and  delays,  was  she  launched  upon  her 
true  work  in  the  world. 



(i853-0ctober  1854) 

Lo,  as  some  venturer  from  his  stars  receiving 
Promise  and  presage  of  sublime  emprise, 

Wears  evermore  the  seal  of  his  believing 
Deep  in  the  dark  of  solitary  eyes. 

F.  W.  H.  MYERS. 

THE  institution  in  which  Florence  Nightingale  was  to  serve 
her  apprenticeship  in  Paris  was  the  Maison  de  la  Providence, 
belonging  to  the  Soeurs  de  la  Charite  in  the  Rue  Oudinot 
(No.  5),  Faubourg  St.  Germain.  The  Abbe  Des  Genettes 
described  in  a  letter  to  Manning  the  attractions  which  it 
would  offer  to  his  protegee.  The  principal  House,  managed 
by  twenty  Sisters,  received  nearly  two  hundred  poor  orphans, 
and  also  conducted  a  creche.  A  hospital  was  attached  to  it, 
next  door,  for  aged  and  sick  women.  Within  ten  minutes' 
walk  Miss  Nightingale  would  find  two  other  hospitals,  one 
a  general  hospital,  the  other  a  children's  hospital.  The 
English  demoiselle  would  conform,  in  accordance  with  her 
desire,  to  the  rules  of  the  House  as  a  postulante,  rendering 
all  necessary  service  to  the  sick.  The  only  restrictions  were 
that  she  would  not  be  able  to  enter  the  refectory  or  the 
dormitory  of  the  Sisters.  She  would  have  to  sleep  and  take 
her  meals  in  her  own  room.  But  she  would  be  free  to  visit 
the  poor  in  company  with  the  Sisters,  to  serve  the  sick  under 
their  direction  in  various  hospitals  and  infirmaries,  and  to 
assist  in  the  care  of  the  orphans  alike  in  class  and  at  play. 
Such  was  the  life  in  Paris  to  which  Miss  Nightingale  was 
looking  forward  eagerly.  She  left  London  for  Paris  on 
February  3, 1853,  with  her  cousin,  Miss  Bonham  Carter,  and 


128        HOSPITAL  STUDIES  IN  PARIS  :  1853          PT.  i 

they  stayed  with  M.  and  Madame  Mohl  in  the  Rue  du  Bac. 
Before  entering  the  Maison  de  la  Providence,  Miss  Nightin- 
gale desired  to  visit  and  study  other  institutions  in  Paris. 
She  was  armed  with  a  comprehensive  permit  from  the 
Administration  Generate  de  1' Assistance  Publique  to  study 
in  all  the  hospitals  of  the  city.  She  availed  herself  indef  atig- 
ably  of  this  permission,  spending  her  days  in  inspecting 
hospitals,  infirmaries,  and  religious  houses,  and  having  the 
advantage  of  seeing  the  famous  Paris  surgeons  at  their 
work.  Now,  as  at  all  times,  she  was  a  diligent  collector 
and  student  of  reports,  returns,  statistics,  pamphlets. 
Among  her  papers  of  this  date  are  elaborately  tabulated 
analyses  of  hospital  organization  and  nursing  arrangements 
both  in  France  and  in  Germany,  and  a  circular  of  questions 
bearing  on  the  same  subjects  which  she  seems  to  have 
addressed  to  the  principal  institutions  in  the  United  King- 
dom. Her  evenings  were  spent  in  company  with  her  host 
and  hostess.  There  were  soirees  dansantes  in  the  Rue  du 
Bac.  She  went  once  or  twice  with  Madame  Mohl  to  balls 
elsewhere,  and  also  to  the  opera.  She  met  many  English 
visitors  and  distinguished  Parisians.  Having  completed 
her  general  inquiries  into  the  Paris  hospitals,  she  presented 
herself  to  the  Reverend  Mother  of  the  Maison  de  la  Pro- 
vidence, and  had  arranged  a  day  for  her  admission,  when 
she  was  suddenly  recalled  to  England  by  the  illness  of  her 
grandmother,  who  died  at  the  age  of  ninety-five.  "  Great 
has  been  the  occasion  for  Flo's  usefulness/'  wrote  Mr. 
Nightingale  to  his  wife.  And  "  I  shall  never  be  thankful 
enough,"  wrote  Florence  herself  to  her  cousin  in  Paris, 
"  that  I  came.  I  was  able  to  make  her  be  moved  and 
changed,  and  to  do  other  little  things  which  perhaps 
smoothed  the  awful  passage,  and  which  perhaps  would  not 
have  been  done  as  well  without  me."  A  family  event  of  a 
different  kind  interested  Miss  Nightingale  at  this  time.  Her 
cousin  Blanche  Shore  Smith  had  become  engaged  to  Arthur 
Hugh  Clough.  Miss  Nightingale  greatly  liked  him.  As  a 
long  engagement  seemed  likely,  Miss  Nightingale  interested 
herself  in  the  future  of  the  young  couple ;  discussing  the 
proper  limits  of  parental  allowances  in  such  matters  ;  draw- 
ing up  elaborately  detailed  estimates  of  household  expendi- 

CH.  x       NEGOTIATIONS  WITH  THE  "  F.A.S.  "         129 

ture,  not  forgetting  to  include  future  charges  for  a  young 
family,  as  by  the  statistics  of  the  average  birth-rate  they 
might  be  calculated.  Statistics  were  already  almost  a 
passion  with  her. 


Negotiations  were  now  on  foot  for  Miss  Nightingale  to 
take  charge  of  a  benevolent  institution  in  London,  and 
Madame  Mohl  advised  her  to  keep  in  their  places  the  great 
ladies  who  were  concerned  in  it.  Neither  now,  nor  at  any 
time,  was  she  much  in  love  with  committees,  but  not  every 
word  in  the  following  account  of  the  negotiations  need  be 
taken  very  seriously  : — 

(To  Madame  Mohl.}  LEA  HURST,  April  8.  In  all  that  you 
say  I  cordially  agree,  and  if  you  knew  what  the  "  fashionable 
asses  "  have  been  doing,  their  "  offs  "  and  their  "  ons,"  poor 
fools  !  you  would  say  so  ten  times  more.  I  shall  be  truly  grateful 
if  you  will  write  to  Pop — my  people  know  as  much  of  the  affair 
now  as  I  do — which  is  not  much.  You  see  the  F.A.S.  (or  A.F.S., 
which  will  stand  for  "  ancient  fathers  "  and  be  more  respectful, 
as  they  are  all  Puseyites),  the  F.A.S.  want  me  to  come  up  to 
London  now  and  look  at  them,  and  if  we  suit  to  come  very  soon 
into  the  Sanatorium,  which,  I  am  afraid,  will  preclude  my  coming 
back  to  Paris,  especially  if  you  are  coming  away  soon,  for  going 
there  without  you  would  unveil  all  my  iniquities,  as  the  F.A.S. 
are  quite  as  much  afraid  of  the  R.C.'s  as  my  people  are.  It 
is  no  use  telling  you  the  history  of  the  negotiations,  which  are 
enough  to  make  a  comedy  in  50  acts.  They  may  be  summed 
up  as  I  once  heard  an  Irish  shoeless  boy  translate  Virgil : 
Obstupui,  "  I  was  althegither  bothered  " — stetemntque  comae, 
"  and  my  hair  stood  up  like  the  bristles  of  a  pig  " — vox  faucibus 
haesit,  "  and  divil  a  word  could  I  say."  Well,  divil  a  bit  of  a 
word  can  I  say  except  that  you  are  very  good,  dear  friend,  to 
take  so  much  interest,  and  that  I  shall  be  truly  glad  if  you  will 
write  to  Pop,  .  .  .  dans  le  sens  du  muscle. 

All  your  advice,  which  I  sent  to  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  I  give 
my  profoundest  adhesion  to — I  would  gladly  point  the  finger 
of  scorn  in  the  liveliest  manner  at  the  F.A.S.  and  ride  them 
roughshod  round  Grosvenor  Sq.  I  will  even  do  my  very 
best — but  I  am  afraid  it  is  not  in  me  to  do  it  as  I  should  wish. 
It  would  be  only  a  poor  feint — a  mean  Caricature.  But  I  will 
practise  and  you  shall  see  me. 

My  people  are  now  at  30  Old  Burlington  Street,  where  I  shall 
be  in  another  week.  Please  write  to  them  there,  and  if  you  can 

VOL.  I  K 


do  a  little  quacking  for  me  to  them,  the  same  will  be  thankfully 
received,  in  order  that  I  may  come  in,  when  I  arrive,  not  with  my 
tail  between  my  legs,  but  gracefully  curved  round  me,  in  the  old 
way  in  which  Perugino's  Devil  wears  it,  in  folds  round  the  waist. 
I  am  afraid  I  must  live  at  the  place.  If  I  don't,  it  will  be  a 
half  and  half  measure  which  will  satisfy  no  one.  However,  I 
shall  take  care  to  be  perfectly  free  to  clear  off,  without  its  being 
considered  a  failure,  at  my  own  time.  I  can  give  you  no  par- 
ticulars, dearest  friend,  because  I  don't  know  any.  I  can 
only  say  that,  unless  I  am  left  a  free  agent  and  am  to  organize 
the  thing  myself  and  not  they,  I  will  have  nothing  to  do  with  it. 
But  as  the  thing  is  yet  to  be  organized,  I  cannot  lay  a  plan  either 
before  you  or  my  people.  And  that  rather  perplexes  them, 
as  they  want  to  make  conditions  that  I  shan't  do  this  or  that. 
If  you  would  "  well  present  "  my  plans,  as  you  say,  to  them, 
it  would  be  an  inestimable  benefit  both  to  them  and  to  me.  .  .  . 
Hillie  will  tell  you  all  I  know — that  it  is  a  Sanatorium  for  sick 
governesses  managed  by  a  Committee  of  fine  ladies.  But  there 
are  no  surgeon-students  nor  improper  patients  there  at  all, 
which  is,  of  course,  a  great  recommendation  in  the  eyes  of  the 
Proper.  The  Patients,  or  rather  the  Impatients,  for  I  know 
what  it  is  to  nurse  sick  ladies,  are  all  pay  patients,  poor  friendless 
folk  in  London.  I  am  to  have  the  choosing  of  the  house,  the 
appointment  of  the  Chaplain  and  the  management  of  the  funds, 
as  the  F.A.S.  are  at  present  minded.  But  Isaiah  himself  could 
not  prophesy  how  they  will  be  minded  at  8  o'clock  this  evening. 

What  specially  annoyed  Miss  Nightingale  was  that 
some  of  the  fashionable  ladies  in  the  course  of  gossip  had 
begun  to  wonder  whether  her  appointment  would  have  the 
approval  of  her  family.  Some  officious  friend  had  suggested 
that  "  it  would  be  cruel  to  take  her  away  from  her  home/' 
This  difficulty  was  disposed  of  by  Miss  Nightingale's  assur- 
ance that  the  appointment  would  be  submitted  to  the 
approval  of  her  mother  and  father.  Her  father  now  agreed 
to  make  her  an  independent  allowance,  paid  quarterly  in 
advance.  It  was  on  a  scale  sufficiently  liberal  to  enable 
her  to  offer  her  services  to  the  Institution  entirely  gratui- 
tously. She  also  agreed  to  pay  all  the  charges  (board  and 
lodging  included)  of  the  matron  (Mrs.  Clarke),  whom  she 
was  to  bring  with  her.  Another  difficulty  was  then  raised. 
The  superintendent  of  a  nursing-home  ought  to  be  present 
when  the  doctors  went  their  rounds  and  when  operations 
were  performed.  But  would  it  be  §eemly  for  a  gentlewoman 


to  do  this  ?  Miss  Nightingale  insisted,  and  an  agreement 
was  arrived  at  in  April.  She  was  to  enter  upon  her  duties 
as  superintendent  as  soon  as  new  premises  had  been  secured, 
and  meanwhile  she  was  free  to  resume  her  studies  in  Paris. 


She  returned  to  Paris  on  May  30,  and  after  a  week  spent 
with  M.  and  Madame  Mohl,  during  which  she  again  inspected 
various  hospitals,  she  entered  the  Maison  de  la  Providence 
in  the  Rue  Oudinot  on  June  8.  From  Paris  she  kept  up 
correspondence  with  regard  to  the  new  premises  for  the 
institution  in  London.  "  The  indispensable  conditions  of 
a  suitable  house  are,"  she  wrote  to  Lady  Canning  (June  5), 
"first,  that  the  nurse  should  never  be  obliged  to  quit  her 
floor,  except  for  her  own  dinner  and  supper,  and  her  patients' 
dinner  and  supper  (and  even  the  latter  might  be  avoided  by 
the  windlass  we  have  talked  about).  Without  a  system  of 
this  kind,  the  nurse  is  converted  into  a  pair  of  legs.  Secondly, 
That  the  bells  of  the  patients  should  all  ring  in  the  passage 
outside  the  nurse's  own  door  on  that  story,  and  should  have 
a  valve  which  flies  open  when  its  bell  rings,  and  remains 
open  in  order  that  the  nurse  may  see  who  has  rung."  The 
letter  continues  for  some  pages  to  describe  other  require- 
ments— about  a  hot-water  supply  and  the  like  ;  points  which 
are  now  in  the  A  B  C  of  hospitals  or  nursing-homes,  but 
which  then  were  novel  counsels  of  perfection.  The  idea  of 
a  lift,  in  particular,  was  new ;  inquiries  were  made  by  the 
ladies  in  various  parts  of  the  country,  and  there  were  many 
hitches  before  a  suitable  apparatus  was  installed.  The 
correspondence  is  significant  of  the  attention  to  practical 
detail  which  characterized  all  Miss  Nightingale's  work. 
Meanwhile  her  work  with  the  Sisters  of  Charity  among  the 
poor  came  to  a  tiresome  pause.  The  nurse  had  herself  to 
be  nursed.  The  nature  of  the  calamity  is  described  in  a 
letter  to  Madame  Mohl,  who  was  paying  visits  in  England 
at  the  time  : — 

June  28.  MY  DEAREST  FRIEND — Do  you  see  where  I  am  ? 
Here's  a  "  go  "  !  Has  M.  Mohl  told  you  ?  Here  am  I  in  bed 

132  ILLNESS  AT  PARIS  PT.  i 

in  your  back  drawing-room.  Poor  M.  Mohl  appears  to  bear 
it  with  wonderful  equanimity  and  recueillement,  like  his  danseuse. 
Not  so  I.  It  is  the  most  impertinent,  the  most  surprising,  the 
most  inopportune  thing  I  have  ever  done — me  established  in  a 
lady's  house  in  her  absence,  to  be  ill.  If  M.  Mohl  had  any  sins, 
I  should  think  I  was  the  avenging  Phooka  appointed  to  castigate 
him — as  he  has  none,  I  am  obliged  to  arrest  myself  at  the  other 
supposition  that  it  is  for  my  own.  It  was  not  my  fault  though 
really.  Here  is  how  the  things  have  happened.  .  .  . 

I  have  had  the  measles  at  the  Sceurs.  And,  of  all  my 
adventures,  of  which  I  have  had  many  and  queer,  as  will  be 
(never)  recorded  in  the  Book  of  my  Wanderings,  the  dirtiest 
and  the  queerest  I  have  ever  had  has  been  a  measles  in  the  cell 
of  a  Sceur  de  la  Charite.  They  were  very  kind  to  me — and  dear 
M.  Mohl  wrote  to  me  almost  every  day,  and  sent  me  tea  (which, 
however,  they  would  not  let  me  have),  and  he  lastly,  in  his 
paternity,  would  have  me  back  (where  I  came  yesterday),  and 
established  me  in  the  back  drawing-room,  to  my  infinite  horror, 
and  now  I  am  getting  better  very  fast,  and  mean  to  be  out  again 
in  a  day  or  two.  I  had  got  rid  of  the  eruption  and  all  that  before 
I  came.  Mr.  Mohl  is  so  kind  and  comes  to  see  me  and  talk, 
which  I  suppose  is  very  improper,  but  I  can't  help  it,  and  he  has 
been  like  a  father  to  me  and  never  was  such  a  father  !  I  really 
am  so  ashamed  of  all  his  kindness,  and  the  trouble  I  give  them, 
that  my  brazen  old  face  blushes  crimson,  and  I  assure  you  this 
paper  ought  to  be  red.  Julie  [the  servant]  is  very  kind  to  me. 
But  I  hope  not  to  be  long  on  their  hands.  As  to  my  calamity 
itself,  it  is  like  the  Mariage  de  Mademoiselle :  who  could  have 
foreseen  it  ?  It  really  was  not  my  fault.  There  was  no  measles 
at  any  of  my  posts,  and  I  had  had  them  not  eighteen  months  ago, 
so  that,  erect  in  the  consciousness  of  that  dignity,  I  should  not 
have  kept  out  of  their  way,  if  I  had  seen  them.  The  Dr.  would 
not  believe  I  could  have  had  them  before.  Well,  I'm  so  ashamed 
of  myself  that  I  shall  lock  myself  up  for  the  rest  of  my  life,  and 
never  go  nowhere  no  more.  For  you  see,  it's  evident  that 
Providence,  who  was  always  in  my  way,  and  who,  as  the 
Superieure  said,  is  tres  admirable  (meaning  wonderful)  in  having 
done  this,  does  not  mean  me  to  come  to  Paris  nor  to  the  Soeurs, 
having  twice  made  me  ill  when  I  was  doing  so — and  given  you 
all  this  trouble.  For  me  to  come  to  Paris  to  have  the  measles 
a  second  time,  is  like  going  to  the  Grand  Desert  to  die  of  getting 
one's  feet  wet,  or  anything  most  unexpected.  .  .  .  Please  write 
to  M.  Mohl,  and  comfort  him  for  his  disaster.  I  am  so  repentant 
that  I  can  say  nothing — which,  the  Catholics  tell  me,  is  the 
"  marque  "  of  a  true  "  humiliation."  Thank  you  a  thousand  times 
for  all  your  kindness.  I  come  to  England  next  week.  F.  N 

CH.  x          THE  HARLEY-STREET  HOSPITAL  133 

M.  Mohl  required  no  comfort.  Miss  Nightingale's 
father  wrote  to  thank  him  for  his  kindness  to  her.  The 
kindness,  he  gallantly  replied,  was  on  her  side  in  giving 
him  the  advantage  of  her  society  and  conversation.  "  Her 
gentle  manner,"  he  wrote  (July  25),  "  covers  such  a  depth 
and  strength  of  mind  and  thought,  that  I  am  afraid  of 
nothing  for  her,  but  that  her  health  should  fail  her/' 


Convalescence  was  rapid.  On  July  13  she  returned 
to  London,  and  a  month  later,  on  August  12,  1853,  Miss 
Nightingale  went  into  residence  in  her  first  "  situation." 
The  place  in  question,  already  briefly  described  in  one  of 
her  letters  to  Madame  Mohl,  was  that  of  Superintendent  of 
an  "  Establishment  for  Gentlewomen  during  Illness/'  This 
institution  had  been  founded  a  few  years  before,  at  8  Chandos 
Street,  Cavendish  Square,  to  give  medical  assistance  and 
a  home  to  sick  governesses  and  other  gentlewomen  of  narrow 
means.  It  was  managed  by  a  Council,  which  in  its  turn 
appointed  a  "  Committee  of  Ladies  "  and  a  "  Committee  of 
Gentlemen."  We  need  not  trouble  ourselves  with  the  re- 
lations between  the  two  committees,  though  they  much 
troubled  Miss  Nightingale ;  but  it  is  characteristic  of  the 
ideas  of  the  time  that  the  ladies  made  over  to  the  gentlemen 
"  all  payments,  contracts,  and  financial  arrangements,"  as 
also  "  the  selection  of  medical  officers  and  male  servants." 
Some  years  later  Kinglake  devoted  several  pages  of  his  most 
elaborate  satire  to  a  comparison  of  the  male  pretensions 
and  the  female  performances  in  their  respective  spheres  in 
the  hospitals  of  the  Crimea ;  but  on  the  present  occasion  Miss 
Nightingale  found  the  ladies  more  difficult  than  the  gentlemen. 
The  institution  had  languished  in  Chandos  Street.  She  was 
called  in  to  give  it  new  life.  Suitable  new  premises  had  been 
found  at  No.  i  Upper  Harley  Street,  and  there  Miss  Nightin- 
gale lived,  with  a  few  brief  intervals,  until  October  1854. 
She  had  also  a  pied-a-terre  in  some  lodgings  taken  for  her  by 
her  aunt  in  Pall  Mall,  where  she  occasionally  saw  her  friends, 
and  whither  she  resorted  on  Sunday  mornings,  in  order  not 
to  scandalize  the  patients  in  Harley  Street  by  being  known 


not  to  go  to  church.  She  had  stipulated  for  extensive 
powers  of  control,  and  she  was  not  one  to  let  any  agreed 
powers  suffer  diminution  from  desuetude.  The  ladies  on 
the  Council  and  the  Committee  included  (besides  Lady 
Canning  already  mentioned)  Lady  Ellesmere,  Lady  Cran- 
worth,  Lady  Monteagle,  Lady  Caroline  Murray,  and  others 
well  known  in  the  worlds  of  society  and  philanthropy. 
Miss  Nightingale  had  her  special  friends  and  allies  among 
them,  such  as  Lady  Canning  and  Lady  Inglis,  and  Mrs. 
Sidney  Herbert  presently  joined  the  Committee  in  order 
to  lend  her  support.  Since  their  meeting  in  Rome,  Mrs. 
Herbert  and  Miss  Nightingale  had  seen  much  of  each  other, 
for  Wilton  House  was  within  calling  distance  of  Embley. 
Miss  Nightingale  had  assisted  at  the  birth  of  one  of  Mrs. 
Herbert's  children  ;  and  amongst  Miss  Nightingale's  papers 
belonging  to  this  period  is  a  "  Syllabus  of  Religious  Teaching 
for  a  Girls'  School,"  which  they  had  adapted  from  the 
Madre  S.  Colomba's  lessons  to  girls.  Mrs.  Herbert  now  wrote 
from  Wilton,  offering  to  come  up  to  a  committee  meeting : 
"  I  thought  some  wicked  cats  might  be  there  who  would  set 
up  their  backs ;  and  if  so,  I  should  like  to  have  mine  up  too." 
And,  again:  "  I  hope  you  will  write  to  me,  dearest  Flo,  should 
any  little  difficulties  arise  whilst  we  are  out  of  town." 

Difficulties  did  arise  in  plenty,  but  Miss  Nightingale  was 
sometimes  peremptory,  and  at  other  times  showed  herself  a 
master  in  the  gentle  art  of  managing  committees  : — 

(To  Madame  Mohl.)  i  UPPER  HARLEY  ST.,  August  20.  ... 
Clarkey  dear,  I  would  write,  but  I  can't.  I  have  had  to  prepare 
this  immense  house  for  patients  in  ten  days — without  a  bit  of 
help  but  only  hindrance  from  my  Committee.  If  M.  Mohl 
would  write  a  book  upon  English  societies,  I  would  supply  him 
with  such  Statistics  as  would  astonish  even  him.  But  it's  no 
use  talking  about  these  things,  and  I've  no  time.  I  have  been 
"  in  service  "  ten  days,  and  have  had  to  furnish  an  entirely 
empty  house  in  that  time.  We  take  in  patients  this  Monday, 
and  have  not  got  our  workmen  out  yet. 

My  Committee  refused  me  to  take  in  Catholic  patients — 
whereupon  I  wished  them  good-morning,  unless  I  might  take  in 
Jews  and  their  Rabbis  to  attend  them.  So  now  it  is  settled, 
and  in  print,  that  we  are  to  take  in  all  denominations  whatever, 
and  allow  them  to  be  visited  by  their  respective  priests  and 


Muftis,  provided  /  will  receive  (in  any  case  whatsoever  that  is 
not  of  the  Church  of  England)  the  obnoxious  animal  at  the  door, 
take  him  upstairs  myself,  remain  while  he  is  conferring  with 
his  patient,  make  myself  responsible  that  he  does  not  speak  to, 
or  look  at,  any  one  else,  and  bring  him  downstairs  again  in  a  noose, 
and  out  into  the  street.  And  to  this  I  have  agreed  !  And  this 
is  in  print ! 

Amen.  From  Committees,  charity,  and  Schism  —  from 
the  Church  of  England  and  all  other  deadly  sin — from  phil- 
anthropy and  all  the  deceits  of  the  Devil,  Good  Lord,  deliver  us. 

In  great  haste,  ever  yours  overflowingly.  It  will  do  me 
so  much  good  to  see  a  good  man  again. 

(To  her  Father.}  i  UPPER  HARLEY  ST.,  December  3  [1853]. 
DEAR  PAPA — You  ask  for  my  observations  upon  my  fine  of 
statesmanship.  I  have  been  so  very  busy  that  I  have  scarcely 
made  any  resume  in  my  own  mind,  but  upon  doing  so  now  for 
your  benefit,  I  perceive  : — 

When  I  entered  into  service  here,  I  determined  that,  happen 
what  would,  I  never  would  intrigue  among  the  Committee. 
Now  I  perceive  that  I  do  all  my  business  by  intrigue.  I  propose 
in  private  to  A,  B,  or  C  the  resolution  I  think  A,  B,  or  C  most 
capable  of  carrying  in  committee,  and  then  leave  it  to  them, 
and  I  always  win. 

I  am  now  in  the  hey-day  of  my  power.  At  the  last  General 
Committee  they  proposed  and  carried  (without  my  knowing 
anything  about  it)  a  resolution  that  I  should  have  £50  per 
month  to  spend  for  the  House,  and  wrote  to  the  Treasurer  to 
advance  it  me.  Whereupon  I  wrote  to  the  Treasurer  to  refuse 
it  me.  Lady ,  who  was  my  greatest  enemy,  is  now,  I  under- 
stand, trumpeting  my  fame  through  London.  And  all  because 
I  have  reduced  their  expenditure  from  is.  lod.  per  head  per 
day  to  is.  The  opinions  of  others  concerning  you  depend,  not 
at  all,  or  very  little,  upon  what  you  are,  but  upon  what  they  are. 
Praise  and  blame  are  alike  indifferent  to  me,  as  constituting  an 
indication  of  what  myself  is,  though  very  precious  as  the  indica- 
tion of  the  other's  feeling.  .  .  . 

Last  General  Committee  I  executed  a  series  of  Resolutions 
on  five  subjects,  and  presented  them  as  coming  from  the  Medical 
Men  : — 

1.  That  the  successor  to  our  House  Surgeon  (resigned)  should 

be  a  dispenser,  and  dispense  the  medicines  in  the 
house,  saving  our  bill  at  the  druggist's  of  £150  per 

2.  A  series  of  House  Rules,  of  which  I  send  you  the  rough 



3.  A  series  of  resolutions  about  not  keeping  patients,  of  which 

I  send  you  the  foul  copy. 

4.  A  complete  revolution  as  to  Diet,  which  is  shamefully 

abused  at  present. 

5.  An  advertisement  for  the  Institution,  of  which  I  send 

the  foul  copy. 

All  these  I  proposed  and  carried  in  Committee,  without 
telling  them  that  they  came  from  me  and  not  from  the  Medical 
Men  ;  and  then,  and  not  till  then,  I  showed  them  to  the  Medical 
Men,  without  telling  them  that  they  were  already  passed  in 

It  was  a  bold  stroke,  but  success  is  said  to  make  an  insurrection 
into  a  revolution.  The  Medical  Men  have  had  two  meetings 
upon  them,  and  approved  them  all  nem.  con.,  and  thought  they 
were  their  own.  And  I  came  off  with  flying  colours,  no  one 
suspecting  my  intrigue,  which  of  course  would  ruin  me  were 
it  known,  as  there  is  as  much  jealousy  in  the  Committee  of  one 
another,  and  among  the  Medical  Men  of  one  another,  as  ever 
what's  his  name  had  of  Marlborough. 

I  have  also  carried  my  point  of  having  good,  harmless  Mr. 

as  Chaplain  ;  and  no  young  curate  to  have  spiritual  flirtations 
with  my  young  ladies. 

And  so  much  for  the  earthquakes  in  this  little  mole-hill  of 

(To  her  Father.}  ...  I  send  you  some  more  documentary 
evidence — the  tail  of  my  Quarterly  Report.  My  Committee 
are  such  children  in  administration  that  I  am  obliged  to  tell 
them  such  obvious  truths  as  are  contained  in  what  /  make  the 
Medical  Men  say.  This  place  is  exactly  like  the  administering  of 
the  Poor  Law.  We  have  cases  of  purely  lazy  fits  and  cases  deserted 
by  their  families.  And  my  Committee  have  not  the  courage  to 
discharge  a  single  case.  They  say  the  Medical  Men  must  do  it. 
The  Medical  Men  say  they  won't,  although  the  cases,  they  say, 
must  be  discharged.  And  I  always  have  to  do  it,  as  the  stop-gap 
on  all  occasions. 

By  such  arts,  and  by  such  readiness  to  shoulder  re- 
sponsibility, Miss  Nightingale  reduced  chaos  to  order,  and 
her  management  of  the  Institution  won  praise  in  all  quarters. 
It  was  hard  work,  for  the  Lady  Superintendent  was  here, 
there,  and  everywhere,  shepherding  those  who  had  cure 
of  souls,  managing  the  nurses,  assisting  at  operations, 
checking  waste  in  the  coal-cellar  or  the  larder.  When  a 
thing  wanted  to  be  done,  she  did  it  herself.  Mrs.  Herbert 


heard  with  anxiety  that  her  friend  had  strained  her  back  by 
lifting  a  patient,  though  she  was  suffering  from  lumbago  at 
the  time.  There  were  smaller  worries  too.  The  British 
workman,  and  the  British  tradesman  also,  tried  her  sorely. 
"  The  chemists,"  she  wrote  to  her  father,  "  sent  me  a  bottle 
of  ether  labelled  S.  spirits  of  nitre,  which,  if  I  had  not  smelt 
it,  I  should  certainly  have  administered,  and  should  have 
had  an  inquiry  into  poisoning.  And  the  whole  flue  of  a  new 
gas-stove  came  down  the  second  time  of  using  it,  which,  if  I 
had  not  caught  it  in  my  arms,  would  certainly  have  killed 
a  patient/'  Then  there  were  the  anxieties  necessarily 
incident  to  a  nursing  home.  "  We  have  had  an  awful  dis- 
appointment/' she  wrote  to  her  father  (1854),  "  m  a  couching 
for  a  cataract,  which  has  failed.  The  eye  is  lost  (through  no 
fault  of  Bowman's),  and  I  am  left,  after  a  most  anxious 
watching,  with  a  poor  blind  woman  on  my  hands,  whom  we 
have  blinded,  and  with  a  prospect  of  insanity.  I  had  rather 
ten  times  have  killed  her.  These  are  the  cases,  not  those 
like  the  poor  German  who  died,  which  make  our  lives  so 
anxious."  What  was  afterwards  to  characterize  her  work 
in  a  larger  field  was  already  observed  in  Harley  Street.  It 
was  the  combination  of  masterful  powers  of  organization 
with  womanly  gentleness  and  sympathy.  Letters  of  grati- 
tude, which  she  received  from  patients  after  their  discharge 
from  Harley  Street,  speak  of  her  "  unwearied  and  affection- 
ate attention."  They  were  often  addressed  to  her  as  "  My 
good,  dear,  and  faithful  Friend,"  or  "  My  darling  Mother." 
And  a  friend  and  mother  she  was  indeed  to  many  of  the 
young  women  who  came  under  her  care.  She  had  a  large 
and  influential  circle  of  friends  and  acquaintances,  and  she 
was  indefatigable  in  finding  convalescent  homes  or  sympa- 
thetic care,  or  openings  in  the  Colonies,  for  those  who  stood 
in  need  of  such  assistance.  She  was  much  interested  in  the 
scheme  for  Female  Emigration,  which  Sidney  Herbert  had 
started  in  1849,  and  in  which  he  and  his  wife  superintended 
every  detail.1 

Though  the  work  was  hard  and  the  anxieties  many,  Miss 
Nightingale  did  not  lose  heart.  "  Our  vocation  is  a  difficult 
one,"  she  wrote  to  Miss  Nicholson  (Jan.  10,  1854),  "  as  you, 

1  See  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  pp.  111-120. 


I  am  sure,  know  ;  and  though  there  are  many  consolations, 
and  very  high  ones,  the  disappointments  are  so  numerous 
that  we  require  all  our  faith  and  trust.  But  that  is  enough. 
I  have  never  repented  nor  looked  back,  not  for  one  moment. 
And  I  begin  the  New  Year  with  more  true  feeling  of  a  happy 
New  Year  than  ever  I  had  in  my  life/'  She  had  found  her 
vocation.  But  her  family  had  not  yet  quite  fully  accepted 
it.  On  their  side  there  was  still  some  looking  back.  Her 
father,  indeed,  took  pride  in  his  daughter's  success,  and  the 
correspondence  between  them  at  this  time  is  very  pleasant. 
He  was  himself  a  county  magistrate,  concerned  in  the 
administration  of  hospitals  and  asylums  ;  and  he  followed 
every  move  in  his  daughter's  strategy  with  lively  interest. 
He  admired  her  masterfulness,  but  was  not  quite  sure  that 
she  might  not  carry  it  too  far.  "  You  will  have,"  he  wrote, 
"  to  govern  by  a  representative  system  after  all.  In  England 
we  go  this  way  to  work,  and  a  good  way  it  is,  for  a  good 
autocrat  is  only  to  be  found  at  intervals.  Despots  do 
nothing  in  teaching  others.  Republicans  keep  teaching 
each  other  all  day  long."  He  was  most  sympathetic  in  her 
difficulties,  but  he  was  not  sure  that  those  about  him  would 
be  so.  There  is  a  postscript  in  one  of  his  letters  which  tells 
a  good  deal  between  the  lines  :  "  Better  write  to  me  at  the 
Athenaeum  so  as  not  to  excite  inquiry."  Her  mother  and 
sister  seem  to  have  thought  that  while  they  were  in  London 
Florence  might  have  lived  at  home,  or,  at  any  rate,  have 
often  been  with  them.  Why  should  she  be  wearing  herself 
out  away  from  them  ?  Their  point  of  view  was  put  by 
Madame  Mohl,  who  was  the  affectionate  friend  of  both 
sisters  : — 

(To  Madame  Mohl.)  HARLEY  STREET,  August  27  [1853].  .  .  . 
I  have  not  taken  this  step,  Clarkey  dear,  without  years  of  anxious 
consideration.  It  is  the  result  of  the  experience  of  years  and  of 
the  fullest  and  deepest  thought ;  it  has  not  been  done  without 
advice,  and  it  is  a  step,  which,  being  the  growth  of  so  long,  is 
not  likely  to  be  repented  of  or  reconsidered.  I  mean  the  step 
of  leaving  them.  I  do  not  wish  to  talk  about  it — and  this  is  the 
last  time  I  shall  ever  do  so,  but  as  you  ask  me  a  plain  question, 
Clarkey  dear,  I  will  give  you  a  plain  answer.  I  have  talked 
matters  over  ("  made  a  clean  breast,"  as  you  express  it)  with 
Parthe,  not  once  but  thousands  of  times.  Years  and  years  have 


been  spent  in  doing  so.  It  has  been,  therefore,  with  the  deepest 
consideration  and  with  the  fullest  advice  that  I  have  taken  the 
step  of  leaving  home,  and  it  is  a.  fait  accompli.  With  regard  to 
"  my  sacrificing  my  peace  and  comfort,"  it  is  true  that  I  am  here 
entirely  for  their  sakes.  But  to  serve  my  country  in  this  way 
has  been  also  the  object  of  my  life,  though  I  should  not  have  done 
it  in  this  time  or  manner.  But  it  is  not  a  sacrifice  any  more 
than  that  I  have  done  a  thing  in  a  bad  way,  which  I  should  fain 
have  done  in  a  good  one.  For  this  is  sure  to  fail.  So  farewell, 
Clarkey  dear,  don't  let  us  talk  any  more  about  this.  It  is,  as  I 
said  before,  a  fait  accompli. 

Having  at  so  great  difficulty  won  her  freedom,  Florence 
clearly  felt  that  any  policy  of  half-and-half  now  might 
necessitate  in  the  future  a  renewal  of  the  struggle.  Her 
sister  was  still  in  very  delicate  health,  and  Florence  was 
advised,  by  the  family  doctor  himself,  that  her  visits  involved 
much  disturbing  excitement.  Besides,  the  work  at  Harley 
Street,  if  it  was  to  be  done  efficiently,  required  constant 
residence  and  unremitting  attention.  And  it  was  written : 
"  He  that  loveth  father  or  mother  more  than  me  is  not 
worthy  of  me." 

In  August  1854  Miss  Nightingale  took  a  few  days'  holiday 
at  Lea  Hurst,  where  Mrs.  Gaskell,  the  authoress,  was  on  a 
visit  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Nightingale.  It  was  then  that  Mrs. 
Gaskell  wrote  the  description  of  Florence's  personal  appear- 
ance, which  has  already  been  given  (p.  39).  Mrs.  Gaskell 
was  struck  no  less  by  the  beauty  of  her  character.  She 
gave  a  sketch  of  Miss  Nightingale's  career,  and  then  con- 
tinued :  "Is  it  not  like  St.  Elizabeth  of  Hungary  ?  The 
efforts  of  her  family  to  interest  her  in  other  occupations  by 
allowing  her  to  travel,  etc. — but  the  clinging  to  one  object ! 
She  must  be  a  creature  of  another  race,  so  high  and  angelic, 
doing  things  by  impulse  or  some  divine  inspiration,  not  by 
effort  and  struggle  of  will.  But  she  seems  almost  too  holy 
to  be  talked  about  as  a  mere  wonder.  Mrs.  Nightingale  says 
with  tears  in  her  eyes  (alluding  to  Andersen's  Fairy  Tales), 
that  they  are  ducks,  and  have  hatched  a  wild  swan.  She 
seems  as  completely  led  by  God  as  Joan  of  Arc.  I  never 
heard  of  any  one  like  her.  It  makes  me  feel  the  livingness  of 


God  more  than  ever  to  think  how  straight  He  is  sending 
His  Spirit  down  into  her  as  into  the  prophets  and  saints  of 
old.  .  .  ."  And  in  another  letter  : l  "  I  am  glad  that  Miss 

likes  North  and  South.     I  did  not  think  Margaret  was 

so  over  good.  What  would  she  say  to  Florence  Nightingale  ? 
I  can't  imagine  !  for  there  is  intellect  such  as  I  never  came 
in  contact  with  before  in  woman  ! — only  twice  in  man- 
great  beauty,  and  of  her  holy  goodness  who  is  fit  to  speak  ?  " 
A  famous  writer  has  said  of  the  saints,  that  the  greatest  and 
most  helpful  of  them  have  always  shown  some  wit  or 
humour ;  2  and  of  Florence  Nightingale  Mrs.  Gaskell  noted 
further  :  "  She  has  a  great  deal  of  fun,  and  is  carried  along 
by  that,  I  think.  She  mimics  most  capitally." 

Miss  Nightingale  cut  short  her  holiday  on  hearing  that 
an  epidemic  of  cholera  had  broken  out  in  London.  She 
volunteered  to  give  help  with  the  cholera  patients  in  the 
Middlesex  Hospital.  She  was  up  day  and  night  receiving 
the  women  patients — chiefly,  it  seems,  outcasts  in  the  dis- 
trict of  Soho — undressing  them,  and  ministering  to  them. 
The  epidemic,  however,  subsided,  and  she  returned  to  her 
normal  work  in  Harley  Street. 


The  work  there  did  not  fail  within  its  appointed  scope, 
but  in  another  way  the  failure  which  Miss  Nightingale  had 
predicted  in  her  letter  to  Madame  Mohl  soon  became 
apparent.  The  scale  of  the  undertaking  was  more  restricted 
than  Florence  had  desired,  and  she  saw  no  means  of  widening 
it.  She  had  wanted  to  receive  patients  of  all  classes,  to 
enrol  many  volunteer  nurses,  to  have  opportunities  for 
training  them.  Among  a  wide  circle,  both  at  home  and 
abroad,  her  knowledge  and  her  talents  were  well  under- 
stood; and  already,  in  her  correspondence  for  a  year  or 
two  past,  she  appears  as  a  woman  to  whom  reference  was 
made  as  to  one  speaking  with  authority.  A  missionary  in 
Paris  applied  to  her  for  two  well-qualified  matrons.  "  Alas," 
she  had  to  reply,  "  I  have  no  fish  of  that  kind/'  She  was 

1  To  Catherine  Winkworth,  Jan.  i,  1855. 
2  See  Ruskin's  Works,  vol.  xxxi.  p.  386,  vol.  xxxii.  p.  72. 


making  the  most  of  her  present  opportunity,  but  it  was 
narrow.  Some  of  her  friends  had  thought  from  the  first  that 
she  was  wasting  her  powers  on  unsuitable  soil  in  Harley 
Street.  Monckton  Milnes,  who  paid  a  visit  to  Embley  in 
December  1853,  wrote  to  his  wife  :  "  They  talk  quite  easily 
about  Florence,  but  her  position  does  not  seem  very  suitable. 
I  wish  we  could  put  her  at  the  head  of  a  Juvenile  Reforma- 
tory." 1  Her  own  primary  object  was  to  train  nurses  ;  and 
other  friends — Mrs.  Bracebridge  among  the  number — ad- 
vised her  to  leave  Harley  Street,  since  there  she  found  no 
scope  for  so  doing.  King's  College  Hospital  had  just  been 
rebuilt,  and  another  friend,  Miss  Louisa  Twining,  opened 
negotiations  in  August  1854  f°r  securing  Miss  Nightingale's 
appointment  as  Superintendent  of  Nurses  there.  Some  of 
the  medical  men,  who  had  been  impressed  at  Harley  Street 
with  her  rare  combination  of  gifts,  were  most  anxious  that 
she  should  consent  to  take  up  such  a  post.  Dr.  William 
Bowman  in  particular  strongly  pressed  her,  and  was  con- 
fident that,  if  she  agreed,  he  could  get  the  appointment  en 
train  in  the  autumn.  Miss  Nightingale's  mother  and  sister 
sought  as  strongly  to  dissuade  her.  The  sister  laid  stress 
on  Florence's  "  doubtful  health."  The  mother  added  ob- 
jections on  the  score  of  the  medical  students.  They  both 
urged  that,  if  she  must  do  something  of  the  kind,  Great 
Ormond  Street  and  work  among  children  were  more  suitable 
and  convenient.  Florence  herself  was  greatly  drawn  to 
King's  College  Hospital,  and  began  devising  plans,  on  the 
model  of  Kaiserswerth,  for  enrolling  a  staff  of  nurses  among 
farmers'  daughters. 

But  the  immediate  future  hid  in  it  another  fate  for 
Florence  Nightingale.  "  Thy  lot  or  portion  in  life,"  said 
the  Caliph  Ali,  "  is  seeking  after  thee  ;  therefore  be  at  rest 
from  seeking  after  it."  So  Miss  Nightingale  may  have  read 
in  Emerson  ;  and  in  homelier  phrase  her  good  Aunt  Mai  had 
said  to  her,  "  If  you  will  but  be  ready  for  it,  something  is 
getting  ready  for  you,  and  will  be  sure  to  turn  up  in  time." 
Which  things  Florence,  I  doubt  not,  laid  up  in  her  heart. 
When  news  began  to  arrive  from  the  East,  did  she  recall  a 
prophecy  which  had  been  made  about  her  by  a  friend  long 

1  Life  of  Lord  Houghton,  vol.  i.  p.  491. 


before  the  Crimean  War  was  dreamt  of  ?  Lady  Lovelace, 
the  daughter  of  Lord  Byron,  the  "  Ada  sole  daughter  of  my 
home  and  heart/'  had,  before  her  death  in  1852,  written 
a  poem  in  honour  of  her  friend,  Florence  Nightingale.  I 
have  quoted  some  of  it  already.  The  piece  ends  with  a 
presage  : — 

In  future  years,  in  distant  climes, 

Should  war's  dread  strife  its  victims  claim, 

Should  pestilence,  unchecked  betimes, 

Strike  more  than  sword,  than  cannon  maim, 

He  who  then  reads  these  truthful  rhymes 
Will  trace  her  progress  to  undying  fame. 




Who  is  the  happy  Warrior  ?     Who  is  he 

That  every  man  in  arms  should  wish  to  be  ? 

— It  is  the  generous  Spirit,  who,  when  brought 

Among  the  tasks  of  real  life,  hath  wrought 

Upon  the  plan  that  pleased  his  boyish  thought  .  . 

Or  if  an  unexpected  call  succeed, 

Come  when  it  will,  is  equal  to  the  need. 



(October  1854) 

Not  for  delectations  sweet, 

Not  the  cushion  and  the  slipper,  not  the  peaceful  and  the  studious, 
Not  the  riches  safe  and  palling,  not  for  us  the  tame  enjoyment, 

Pioneers  !  O  pioneers  ! 


ON  September  20  the  Battle  of  the  Alma  was  fought,  and 
the  country,  as  Greville  noted,  was  "  in  a  fever  of  excite- 
ment." The  disembarkation  of  the  allied  British  and  French 
forces  for  the  invasion  of  the  Crimea  had  begun  on  the  I4th. 
Their  advance  was  not  resisted  until  they  reached  the  bank 
of  the  Alma,  where  the  Russian  commander  was  awaiting 
attack,  in  so  strong  a  position  that  he  was  confident  of 
victory.  In  less  than  three  hours  the  allied  troops  had  driven 
the  enemy  from  every  part  of  the  ground.  Lord  Raglan, 
the  Commander  of  the  Forces,  congratulated  the  troops  on 
"  the  brilliant  success  that  attended  their  unrivalled  efforts 
in  the  battle,  on  which  occasion  they  carried  a  most  formid- 
able position,  defended  by  large  masses  of  Russian  infantry, 
and  a  most  powerful  and  numerous  artillery."  The  river 
which  the  Russian  commander  had  hoped  to  make  the  grave 
of  the  invaders  became  famous  in  the  annals  of  British 
valour : — 

Thou,  on  England's  banners  blazoned  with  the  famous  fields  of  old, 
Shalt,  where  other  fields  are  winning,  wave  above  the  brave  and  bold ; 
And  our  sons  unborn  shall  nerve  them  for  some  great  deed  to  be  done, 
By  that  twentieth  of  September,  when  the  Alma's  heights  were  won. 
O  thou  river  !   dear  for  ever  to  the  gallant,  to  the  free, 
Alma  !   roll  thy  waters  proudly,  proudly  roll  them  to  the  sea  ! 
VOL.  I  145  L 

146  THE  BATTLE  OF  THE  ALMA  PT.  n 

Nearly  forty  years  had  passed  since  the  British  army 
had  been  engaged  in  European  warfare.  The  Battle  of  the 
Alma,  though  it  disclosed  little  tactical  skill,  and  though  it 
was  not  followed  up  as  it  might  have  been,  had  at  any  rate 
shown  the  desperate  courage  of  the  British  soldien  The 
note  of  exultation  which  inspired  the  verses  of  Archbishop 
Trench  expressed  the  popular  mood. 

Presently  there  was  a  change.  The  number  of  killed 
and  wounded  was  very  large  ;  but  though  many  homes  were 
thrown  into  mourning,  it  was  felt,  in  the  words  of  the  official 
bulletin,  that  such  a  victory  "  could  not  be  achieved  without 
a  considerable  sacrifice/'  The  country  did  not  at  the  time 
grudge  the  sacrifice ;  but  Lord  Raglan's  dispatch  was 
followed  by  another.  The  Crimean  War  was  the  first  in 
which  the  "  Special  Correspondent  "  played  a  conspicuous 
part,  and  the  dispatches  sent  to  the  Times  by  Mr.  William 
Howard  Russell  availed  even  to  overthrow  a  Ministry. 
In  the  Times  of  October  9,  attention  was  drawn  to  the 
futility  of  the  nursing  arrangements  on  the  British  side. 
The  old  pensioners,  who  had  been  sent  out  for  such  ser- 
vice, were  "  not  of  the  slightest  use  "  ;  the  soldiers  had  to 
"  attend  upon  each  other."  On  the  I2th  a  long  letter 
from  "  Our  Special  Correspondent,"  dated  "  Constantinople, 
September  30,"  ended  with  the  following  passage  : — 

It  is  with  feelings  of  surprise  and  anger  that  the  public  will 
learn  that  no  sufficient  preparations  have  been  made  for  the 
proper  care  of  the  wounded.  [Not  only  are  there  not  sufficient 
surgeons — that,  it  might  be  urgetl,  was  unavoidable ;  not  only 
are  there  no  dressers  and  nurses — that  might  be  a  defect  of  system 
for  which  no  one  is  to  blame ;  but  what  will  be  said  when  it  is 
known  that  there  is  not  even  linen  to  make  bandages  for  the 
wounded  ?  The  greatest  commiseration  prevails  for  the  suffer- 
ings of  the  unhappy  inmates  of  Scutari,  and  every  family  is 
giving  sheets  and  old  garments  to  supply  their  wants.  But 
why  could  not  this  clearly  foreseen  want  have  been  supplied  ? 
Can  it  be  said  that  the  Battle  of  the  Alma  has  been  an  event  to 
take  the  world  by  surprise  ?  Has  not  the  expedition  to  the 
Crimea  been  the  talk  of  the  last  four  months  ?  And  when  the 
Turks  gave  up  to  our  use  the  vast  barracks  to  form  a  hospital 
and  depot,  was  it  not  on  the  ground  that  the  loss  of  the  English 
troops  was  sure  to  be  considerable  when  engaged  in  so  dangerous 
an  enterprise  ?  And  yet,  after  the  troops  have  been  six  months 


in  the  country,  there  is  no  preparation  for  the  commonest  surgical 
operations !  Not  only  are  the  men  kept,  in  some  cases,  for  a 
week  without  the  hand  of  a  medical  man  coming  near  their 
wounds;  not  only  are  they  left  to  expire  in  agony,  unheeded 
and  shaken  off,  though  catching  desperately  at  the  surgeon 
whenever  he  makes  his  rounds  through  the  fetid  ship  ;  but  now, 
when  they  are  placed  in  the  spacious  building,  where  we  were 
led  to  believe  that  everything  was  ready  which  could  ease  their 
pain  or  facilitate  their  recovery,  it  is  found  that  the  commonest 
appliances  of  a  workhouse  sick-ward  are  wanting,  and  that  the 
men  must  die  through  the  medical  staff  of  the  British  army 
having  forgotten  that  old  rags  are  necessary  for  the  dressing  of 
wounds.  If  Parliament  were  sitting,  some  notice  would  probably 
be  taken  of  these  facts,  which  are  notorious  and  have  excited 
much  concern  ;  as  it  is,  it  rests  with  the  Government  to  make 
inquiries  into  the  conduct  of  those  who  have  so  greatly  neglected 
their  duty. 

On  the  following  day  a  further  letter  from  the  "  Special 
Correspondent "  was  published.  "It  is  impossible/'  he 
wrote,  "  for  any  one  to  see  the  melancholy  sights  of  the  last 
few  days  without  feelings  of  surprise  and  indignation  at 
the  deficiencies  of  our  medical  system.  The  manner  in 
which  the  sick  and  wounded  are  treated  is  worthy  only  of 
the  savages  of  Dahomey.  .  .  .  The  worn-out  pensioners 
who  were  brought  as  an  ambulance  corps  are  totally  useless, 
and  not  only  are  surgeons  not  to  be  had,  but  there  are  no 
dressers  or  nurses  to  carry  out  the  surgeon's  directions, 
and  to  attend  on  the  sick  during  the  intervals  between  his 
visits.  Here  the  French  are  greatly  our  superiors.  Their 
medical  arrangements  are  extremely  good,  their  surgeons 
more  numerous,  and  they  have  also  the  help  of  the  Sisters 
of  Charity,  who  have  accompanied  the  expedition  in  incred- 
ible numbers.1  These  devoted  women  are  excellent  nurses." 
These  scathing  attacks  changed  the  mood  of  the  country. 
There  was  still  exultation  in  victory,  and  still  readiness  to 
pay  its  price  ;  but  the  "  Special  Correspondent's  "  charges 
of  neglect  towards  the  sick  and  wounded  raised  a  feeling 
of  bitter  resentment — of  resentment  against  the  authorities, 
but  also  of  pity  for  the  victims.  The  Times  accompanied 
the  "  Special  Correspondent's  "  letter  on  October  12  by 
a  leading  article,  making  appeal  to  its  readers,  who  were 

1  For  the  actual  number,  see  below,  p.  149. 


sitting  comfortably  at  home,  to  bestir  themselves,  and 
render  such  help  as  might  be  possible  to  the  soldiers  in  the 
East.  A  letter  was  published  next  day  from  Sir  Robert  Peel, 
who  had  enclosed  £200  to  start  a  fund  for  supplying  the 
sick  and  wounded  with  comforts.  Other  contributions  were 
quickly  forthcoming,  and  on  October  14  a  letter  was  pub- 
lished asking  :  "  Why  have  we  no  Sisters  of  Charity  ?  There 
are  numbers  of  able-bodied  and  tender-hearted  English 
women  who  would  joyfully  and  with  alacrity  go  out  to 
devote  themselves  to  nursing  the  sick  and  wounded,  if  they 
could  be  associated  for  that  purpose,  and  placed  under 
proper  protection." 


There  were  those  among  the  ladies  of  England  who  had 
not  waited  to  be  stung  into  action  by  such  appeals.  On  the 
first  news  of  the  failure  of  the  British  nursing  arrangements, 
they  had  asked  themselves  whether  they  might  not  help, 
not  merely  by  money,  but  by  personal  service.  One  of  the 
first  to  move  was  Lady  Maria  Forester.  She  must  have 
read  and  marked  the  letter  in  the  Times  on  October  9,  for 
already  by  October  n  she  had  placed  herself  in  communica- 
tion with  Miss  Nightingale,  offering  money  to  send  out  some 
trained  nurses.  "  I  was  so  anxious  something  should  be 
done/'  she  said  to  Lady  Verney,  "  that  I  would  have  gone 
myself,  only  I  knew  that  I  should  not  have  been  the  slightest 
use/'  Happily  the  minds  of  those  who  could  be  of  the 
greatest  use  were  moving  in  the  same  direction.  If  a  party 
of  women  nurses  were  to  be  sent  out  to  the  East  with  any 
prospect  of  success,  there  were  two  persons  in  England 
whose  co-operation  was  essential,  and  by  fortunate  chance 
they  were  personal  friends. 

One  was  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert,  the  Secretary  at  War.  The 
preposition  which  I  have  placed  in  italics  must  be  noted. 
The  reader  would  not  thank  me  for  entering  at  length  into 
all  the  intricacies  of  War  Office  organization,  disorganization, 
and  reorganization,  which  went  on  during  the  Crimean  War, 
and  have  continued  to  our  own  day.  But  this  much  it  is 
necessary  to  remember,  that  in  1854  there  was  a  Secretary 
for  War  (the  Duke  of  Newcastle)  and  a  Secretary  at  War 


(Mr.  Sidney  Herbert).  The  curious  part  of  the  arrangement 
was  that  the  Secretary  at  War  had  nothing  to  do  with  war, 
as  such  ;  he  was,  technically,  only  a  financial  and  accounting 
official.  But  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert,  in  the  emergency  created 
by  the  Crimean  War,  stepped  courageously  beyond  the 
strict  bounds  of  his  office.  He  had  already  shown  himself 
by  many  beneficent  measures  of  practical  reform  to  be  the 
Soldiers'  Friend.  He  was  deeply  interested,  as  we  have 
heard  (p.  80),  in  the  care  of  the  sick.  He  knew  how  over- 
worked was  his  colleague,  the  Duke  of  Newcastle,  and  in 
this  matter  of  hospitals  he  assumed  the  position  of  volunteer 
delegate  of  the  Secretary  of  State.  "  I  wish,"  wrote  Mr. 
Gladstone  to  Monckton  Milnes  (Oct.  15,  1855),  "  that  some 
one  of  the  thousand  who  in  prose  justly  celebrate  Miss 
Nightingale  would  say  a  single  word  for  the  man  of  '  routine  ' 
who  devised  and  projected  her  going."  1  Lord  Stanmore 
has  said  not  a  word,  but  a  volume,  in  that  sense  ;  what  was 
truly  admirable  was  "  the  man  of  routine's  "  bold  departure 
from  routine.  The  employment  of  female  nurses  in  the 
army  was  in  this  country  entirely  novel.  It  would  probably 
excite  some  jealousy  in  the  medical  profession  ;  it  was  sure 
to  be  criticized  by  the  military  men.  The  Cabinet  had 
much  else  to  think  of.  The  Duke  of  Newcastle  had  more 
on  his  hands  than  any  one  human  being  could  properly 
accomplish.  Mr.  Herbert,  from  his  influence  in  the  Cabinet, 
from  his  winning  manner  and  general  popularity,  was  the 
man  to  carry  through  the  new  departure.  He  had  pondered 
long  over  the  problems  of  nursing,  both  in  military  hospitals 
and  in  civil  life.  He  could  see  no  reason  why  a  task,  which 
in  civil  life  was  entrusted  almost  exclusively  to  women, 
should  in  the  case  of  military  hospitals  be  confined  to  men. 
The  French  Government  had  sent  out  fifty  Sisters  of  Mercy. 
Mr.  Herbert  could  see  no  reason  why  England  should  not 
do  something  of  a  like  kind.  He  determined  to  make  the 

He  was  strengthened  in  his  resolve  by  the  fact  that  he 
was  intimately  acquainted  with  the  character  and  the 
powers  of  the  second  indispensable  person.  He  knew  Miss 
Florence  Nightingale.  The  preceding  Part  of  this  volume 

1  Life  of  Lord  Houghton,  vol.  i.  p.  521. 


has  shown  by  "  what  circuit  first "  her  life  had  been  one 
long  preparation  for  precisely  such  work  as  was  now  wanted. 
She  and  the  Minister  had  read  the  dispatch  in  the  Times 
with  equal,  if  different,  interest.  To  Mr.  Herbert  it  came 
as  a  call  for  something  to  be  done,  if  the  Ministry  were  to 
avoid  dangerous  criticism  ;  and  to  this  motive,  which  must 
rightly  actuate  every  Minister,  there  was  added  the  con- 
science of  a  high-minded  man,  sincerely  and  eagerly  anxious 
to  do  all  that  was  possible  to  improve  the  treatment  of  the 
sick  and  wounded  soldiers.  To  Miss  Nightingale,  as  she 
read  the  dispatch,  and  the  stirring  appeal  which  accom- 
panied it,  the  words  came  with  something  of  the  force  of 
a  call  from  Above.  For  nearly  ten  years  of  her  life  she  had 
consciously  yearned,  and  half-consciously  for  a  much  larger 
period,  after  ample  scope  in  which  to  exercise  her  power  of 
organization,  and  her  desire  to  serve  the  sick  and  suffering. 
During  many  of  those  years  she  had  been  training  herself 
so  as  to  be  ready  to  use  her  opportunity  when  it  should 
occur.  And  here  was  the  opportunity  at  hand,  in  which 
patriotism  confirmed  her  personal  aspirations.  "  God's 
good  time  "  had  come. 

The  minds  of  the  Minister  and  of  Miss  Nightingale  were 
kindled  together.  They  reached  the  flash-point  of  action 
at  almost  an  identical  moment.  Private  initiative  fore- 
stalled official  overtures  only  by  a  few  hours.  Working  in 
harmony,  they  carried  the  scheme  into  operation  with  an 
unparalleled  rapidity. 


Within  two  days  of  the  publication  of  the  dispatch  from 
Constantinople,  Miss  Nightingale  and  her  friends  had  made 
their  plans.  She  submitted  them  to  the  Minister  in  the 
following  letter  addressed  to  his  wife  : — 

(Miss  Nightingale  to  Mrs.  Herbert.)  i  UPPER  H ARLEY  STREET, 
October  14  [1854].  MY  DEAREST — I  went  to  Belgrave  Square  this 
morning  for  the  chance  of  catching  you  or  Mr.  Herbert  even,  had 
he  been  in  town. 

A  small  private  expedition  of  nurses  has  been  organized  for 
Scutari,  and  I  have  been  asked  to  command  it.  I  take  myself 
out  and  one  nurse. 

CH.  i        HER  LETTER  TO  SIDNEY  HERBERT        151 

Lady  Maria  Forester  has  given  £200  to  take  out  three  others. 
We  feed  and  lodge  ourselves  there,  and  are  to  be  no  expense 
whatever  to  the  country.  Lord  Clarendon  has  been  asked  by 
Lord  Palmerston  to  write  to  Lord  Stratford  for  us,  and  has 
consented.  Dr.  Andrew  Smith  of  the  Army  Medical  Board, 
whom  I  have  seen,  authorizes  us,  and  gives  us  letters  to  the 
Chief  Medical  Officer  at  Scutari. 

I  do  not  mean  to  say  that  I  believe  the  Times  accounts,  but 
I  do  believe  that  we  may  be  of  use  to  the  wounded  wretches. 

Now  to  business. 

(1)  Unless  my  Ladies'  Committee  feel  that  this  is  a  thing 
which  appeals  to  the  sympathies  of  all,  and  urge  me,  rather  than 
barely  consent,  I  cannot  honourably  break  my  engagement  here. 
And  I  write  to  you  as  one  of  my  mistresses. 

(2)  What  does  Mr.  Herbert  say  to  the  scheme  itself  ?     Does 
he  think  it  will  be  objected  to  by  the  authorities  ?     Would  he 
give  us  any  advice  or  letters  of  recommendation  ?     And  are 
there  any  stores  for  the  Hospital  he  would  advise  us  to  take  out  ? 
Dr.  Smith  says  that  nothing  is  needed. 

I  enclose  a  letter  from  E.  Do  you  think  it  any  use  to  apply 
to  Miss  Burdett  Coutts  ? 

We  start  on  Tuesday  if  we  go,  to  catch  the  Marseilles  boat 
of  the  2ist  for  Constantinople,  where  I  leave  my  nurses,  thinking 
the  Medical  Staff  at  Scutari  will  be  more  frightened  than  amused 
at  being  bombarded  by  a  parcel  of  women,  and  I  cross  over  to 
Scutari  with  some  one  from  the  Embassy  to  present  my  credentials 
from  Dr.  Smith,  and  put  ourselves  at  the  disposal  of  the  Drs. 

(3)  Would  you  or  some  one  of  my  Committee  write  to  Lady 
Stratford  to  say,  "  This  is  not  a  lady  but  a  real  Hospital  Nurse," 
of  me  ?     "  And  she  has  had  experience." 

My  uncle  went  down  this  morning  to  ask  my  father  and 
mother's  consent. 

Would  there  be  any  use  in  my  applying  to  the  Duke  of 
Newcastle  for  his  authority  ? 

Believe  me,  dearest,  in  haste,  ever  yours,  F  NIGHTINGALE. 

Perhaps  it  is  better  to  keep  it  quite  a  private  thing,  and  not 
apply  to  Gov1.  qua  Gov*. 

This  letter  was  posted  on  Saturday.  Mr.  Herbert  had 
left  London  to  spend  Sunday  at  Bournemouth,  and  thence, 
unaware  of  the  communication  which  was  on  its  way  to  him 
from  Miss  Nightingale,  he  addressed  the  following  letter  to 
her : — 

(Sidney  Herbert  to  Miss  Nightingale.)  BOURNEMOUTH, 
October  15  [1854].  DEAR  Miss  NIGHTINGALE — You  will  have 


seen  in  the  papers  that  there  is  a  great  deficiency  of  nurses  at  the 
Hospital  at  Scutari. 

The  other  alleged  deficiencies,  namely  of  medical  men,  lint, 
sheets,  etc.,  must,  if  they  have  really  ever  existed,  have  been 
remedied  ere  this,  as  the  number  of  medical  officers  with  the 
army  amounted  to  one  to  every  95  men  in  the  whole 
force,  being  nearly  double  what  we  have  ever  had  before,  and 
30  more  surgeons  went  out  3  weeks  ago,  and  would  by  this 
time,  therefore,  be  at  Constantinople.  A  further  supply  went 
on  Thursday,  and  a  fresh  batch  sail  next  week. 

As  to  medical  stores,  they  have  been  sent  out  in  profusion  ; 
lint  by  the  ton  weight,  15,000  pairs  of  sheets,  medicine,  wine, 
arrowroot  in  the  same  proportion  ;  and  the  only  way  of  account- 
ing for  the  deficiency  at  Scutari,  if  it  exists,  is  that  the  mass  of 
stores  went  to  Varna,  and  was  not  sent  back  when  the  army  left 
for  the  Crimea ;  but  four  days  would  have  remedied  this.  In 
the  meanwhile  fresh  stores  are  arriving. 

But  the  deficiency  of  female  nurses  is  undoubted,  none  but 
male  nurses  having  ever  been  admitted  to  military  hospitals. 

It  would  be  impossible  to  carry  about  a  large  staff  of  female 
nurses  with  the  army  in  the  field.  But  at  Scutari,  having  now 
a  fixed  hospital,  no  military  reason  exists  against  their  introduc- 
tion, and  I  am  confident  they  might  be  introduced  with  great 
benefit,  for  hospital  orderlies  must  be  very  rough  hands,  and 
most  of  them,  on  such  an  occasion  as  this,  very  inexperienced 

I  receive  numbers  of  offers  from  ladies  to  go  out,  but  they 
are  ladies  who  have  no  conception  of  what  an  hospital  is,  nor  of 
the  nature  of  its  duties ;  and  they  would,  when  the  time  came, 
either  recoil  from  the  work  or  be  entirely  useless,  and  consequently 
— what  is  worse — entirely  in  the  way.  Nor  would  these  ladies 
probably  ever  understand  the  necessity,  especially  in  a  military 
hospital,  of  strict  obedience  to  rule.  Lady  M.  Forester  (Lord 
Roden's  daughter)  has  made  some  proposal  to  Dr.  Smith,  the 
head  of  the  Army  Medical  Department,  either  to  go  with  or  to 
send  out  trained  nurses.  I  apprehend  she  means  from  Fitzroy 
Square,  John  Street,  or  some  such  establishment.  The  Rev.  Mr. 
Hume,  once  chaplain  to  the  General  Hospital  at  Birmingham 
(and  better  known  as  author  of  the  scheme  for  transferring  the 
city  churches  to  the  suburbs),  has  offered  to  go  out  himself  as 
chaplain  with  two  daughters  and  twelve  nurses.  He  was  in  the 
army  seven  years,  and  has  been  used  to  hospitals,  and  I  like  the 
tone  of  his  letters  very  much.  I  think  from  both  of  these  offers 
practical  effects  may  be  drawn.  But  the  difficulty  of  finding 
nurses  who  are  at  all  versed  in  their  business  is  probably  not 
known  to  Mr.  Hume,  and  Lady  M.  Forester  probably  has  not 

CH.  i        HIS  APPEAL  TO  MISS  NIGHTINGALE        153 

tested  the  willingness  of  the  trained  nurses  to  go,  and  is  incapable 
of  directing  or  ruling  them. 

There  is  but  one  person  in  England  that  I  know  of  who  would 
be  capable  of  organizing  and  superintending  such  a  scheme  ; 
and  I  have  been  several  times  on  the  point  of  asking  you  hypo- 
thetically  if,  supposing  the  attempt  were  made,  you  would 
undertake  to  direct  it. 

The  selection  of  the  rank  and  file  of  nurses  will  be  very 
difficult :  no  one  knows  it  better  than  yourself.  The  difficulty 
of  finding  women  equal  to  a  task,  after  all,  full  of  horrors, 
and  requiring,  besides  knowledge  and  goodwill,  great  energy  and 
great  courage,  will  be  great.  The  task  of  ruling  them  and 
introducing  system  among  them,  great ;  and  not  the  least  will 
be  the  difficulty  of  making  the  whole  work  smoothly  with  the 
medical  and  military  authorities  out  there.  This  it  is  which 
makes  it  so  important  that  the  experiment  should  be  carried  out 
by  one  with  a  capacity  for  administration  and  experience.  A 
number  of  sentimental  enthusiastic  ladies  turned  loose  into  the 
Hospital  at  Scutari  would  probably,  after  a  few  days,  be  mises  a 
la  porte  by  those  whose  business  they  would  interrupt,  and  whose 
authority  they  would  dispute. 

My  question  simply  is,  Would  you  listen  to  the  request  to  go 
and  superintend  the  whole  thing  ?  You  would  of  course  have 
plenary  authority  over  all  the  nurses,  and  I  think  I  could  secure 
you  the  fullest  assistance  and  co-operation  from  the  medical  staff, 
and  you  would  also  have  an  unlimited  power  of  drawing  on  the 
Government  for  whatever  you  thought  requisite  for  the  success 
of  your  mission.  On  this  part  of  the  subject  the  details  are  too 
many  for  a  letter,  and  I  reserve  it  for  our  meeting  ;  for  whatever 
decision  you  take,  I  know  you  will  give  me  every  assistance  and 

I  do  not  say  one  word  to  press  you.  You  are  the  only  person 
who  can  judge  for  yourself  which  of  conflicting  or  incompatible 
duties  is  the  first,  or  the  highest ;  but  I  must  not  conceal  from 
you  that  I  think  upon  your  decision  will  depend  the  ultimate 
success  or  failure  of  the  plan.  Your  own  personal  qualities, 
your  knowledge  and  your  power  of  administration,  and  among 
greater  things  your  rank  and  position  in  Society  give  you  advan- 
tages in  such  a  work  which  no  other  person  possesses. 

If  this  succeeds,  an  enormous  amount  of  good  will  be  done 
now,  and  to  persons  deserving  everything  at  our  hands  ;  and  a 
prejudice  will  have  been  broken  through,  and  a  precedent  estab- 
lished, which  will  multiply  the  good  to  all  time. 

I  hardly  like  to  be  sanguine  as  to  your  answer.  If  it  were 
"  yes/'  I  am  certain  the  Bracebridges  would  go  with  you  and 
give  you  all  the  comfort  you  would  require,  and  which  their 


society  and  sympathy  only  could  give  you.  I  have  written  very 
long,  for  the  subject  is  very  near  my  heart.  Liz  [Mrs.  Herbert] 
is  writing  to  Mrs.  Bracebridge  to  tell  her  what  I  am  doing.  I  go 
back  to  town  to-morrow  morning.  Shall  I  come  to  you  between 
3  and  5  ?  Will  you  let  me  have  a  line  at  the  War  Office  to 
let  me  know  ? 

There  is  one  point  which  I  have  hardly  a  right  to  touch  upon, 
but  I  know  you  will  pardon  me.  If  you  were  inclined  to  under- 
take this  great  work,  would  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Nightingale  give  their 
consent  ?  The  work  would  be  so  national,  and  the  request  made 
to  you  proceeding  from  the  Government  who  represent  the  nation 
comes  at  such  a  moment,  that  I  do  not  despair  of  their  consent. 
Deriving  your  authority  from  the  Government,  your  position 
would  secure  the  respect  and  consideration  of  every  one,  especially 
in  a  service  where  official  rank  carries  so  much  weight.  This 
would  secure  to  you  every  attention  and  comfort  on  your  way 
and  there,  together  with  a  complete  submission  to  your  orders. 
I  know  these  things  are  a  matter  of  indifference  to  you  except 
so  far  as  they  may  further  the  great  objects  you  have  in  view ; 
but  they  are  of  importance  in  themselves,  and  of  every  importance 
to  those  who  have  a  right  to  take  an  interest  in  your  personal 
position  and  comfort. 

I  know  you  will  come  to  a  wise  decision.  God  grant  it  may 
be  in  accordance  with  my  hopes !  Believe  me,  dear  Miss 
Nightingale,  ever  yours,  SIDNEY  HERBERT.1 

There  was  no  hitch,  such  as  Sidney  Herbert  half  feared, 
from  reluctance  on  the  part  of  Miss  Nightingale's  parents. 
Her  uncle,  Mr.  Samuel  Smith  (husband  of  her  Aunt  Mai, 
of  whose  helpfulness  we  have  heard),  had  already  half 
obtained  their  consent  to  her  going  as  a  volunteer.  All 
hesitation  was  removed  when  the  news  came  that  she  was 
asked  to  go  by  and  for  the  Government  itself  : — 

"  MY  LOVE/'  wrote  Miss  Nightingale's  sister  to  a  friend 
(Oct.  18),  "  Government  has  asked,  I  should  say  entreated,  Flo 
to  go  out  and  help  in  the  Hospital  at  Scutari.  I  am  sure  you  will 
feel  that  it  is  a  great  and  noble  work,  and  that  it  is  a  real  duty ; 
for  there  is  no  one,  as  they  tell  her,  and  I  believe  truly,  who  has 
the  knowledge  and  the  zeal  necessary  to  make  such  a  step 

1  This  famous  letter — obviously  private  at  the  time — was  printed  in 
extenso,  for  a  controversial  purpose  (see  below,  p.  245),  in  the  Daily  News 
of  October  28,  1854.  Miss  Nightingale  was  much  distressed  when  she 
heard  of  the  publication,  and  her  family  could  not  think  how  it  had  "  got 
into  the  papers  "  ;  but  they  had  shown  it,  and  copies  of  it,  too  widely. 


And  to  the  same  friend  a  day  or  two  later  : — 

Before,  in  Harley  Street,  I  did  not  feel  sure  that  she  was 
right,  there  seemed  so  much  to  be  done  at  home  ;  but  now  there 
is  no  doubt  that  she  is  fitted  to  do  this  work,  and  that  no  one  else 
is,  and  that  it  is  a  work.  I  must  say  the  way  in  which  all  things 
have  tended  to  and  fitted  her  for  this  is  so  very  remarkable  that 
one  cannot  but  believe  she  was  intended  for  it.  None  of  her 
previous  life  has  been  wasted,  her  experience  all  tells,  all  the 
gathered  stores  of  so  many  years,  her  Kaiserswerth,  her  sympathy 
with  the  R.  Catholic  system  of  work,  her  travels,  her  search 
into  the  hospital  question,  her  knowledge  of  so  many  different 
minds  and  different  classes,  all  are  serving  so  curiously — and 
much  more  than  I  have  time  for. 

Yes,  and  perhaps  even  the  difficulties  which  affectionate 
solicitude  had  placed  in  Florence  Nightingale's  way  might 
have  been  counted  among  her  preparations  for  a  task  in- 
volving great  power  of  will  and  determination. 

Miss  Nightingale  saw  Mr.  Herbert  on  Monday,  October 
16,  and  the  matter  was  arranged  between  them.  Mrs. 
Sidney  Herbert  and  the  other  ladies  of  the  Harley  Street 
Committee  readily  released  their  Superintendent.  Her 
faithful  friends,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  agreed  to  ac- 
company her.  Mr.  Herbert  had  assured  Miss  Nightingale 
of  their  willingness,  without  any  previous  consultation — a 
fine  instance,  surely,  of  friendly  confidence.  The  Duke  of 
Newcastle,  who  had  some  slight  personal  acquaintance  with 
Miss  Nightingale,  and  the  other  members  of  the  Cabinet 
cordially  approved  the  initiative  of  their  colleague,  and 
three  days  later  Miss  Nightingale  received  her  official 
appointment  and  instructions  : — 

(The  Secretary-at-War  to  Miss  Nightingale.)  WAR  OFFICE, 
October  19  [1854].  MADAM — Having  consented  at  the  pressing 
instance  of  the  Government  to  accept  the  office  of  Superintendent 
of  the  female  nursing  establishment  in  the  English  General 
Military  Hospitals  in  Turkey,  you  will,  on  your  arrival  there, 
place  yourself  at  once  in  communication  with  the  Chief  Army 
Medical  Officer  of  the  Hospital  at  Scutari,  under  whose  orders 
and  direction  you  will  carry  on  the  duties  of  your  appointment. 

Everything  relating  to  the  distribution  of  the  nurses,  the 
hours  of  their  attendance,  their  allotment  to  particular  duties, 
is  placed  in  your  hands,  subject,  of  course,  to  the  sanction  and 
approval  of  the  Chief  Medical  Officer ;  but  the  selection  of  the 


nurses  in  the  first  instance  is  placed  solely  under  your  controul, 
or  under  that  of  persons  to  be  agreed  upon  between  yourself  and 
the  Director-General  of  the  Army  and  Ordnance  Medical  Depart- 
ment, and  the  persons  so  selected  will  receive  certificates  from 
the  Director-General  or  the  principal  Medical  Officer  of  one  of 
the  General  Hospitals,  without  which  certificate  no  one  will  be 
permitted  to  enter  the  Hospital  in  order  to  attend  the  sick. 

In  like  manner  the  power  of  discharge  on  account  of  illness 
or  of  dismissal  for  misconduct,  inaptitude,  or  other  cause,  is 
vested  entirely  in  yourself ;  but  in  cases  of  such  discharge  or 
dismissal  the  cost  of  the  return  passage  of  such  person  home  will, 
if  you  think  it  advisable  and  if  they  proceed  at  once  or  so  soon 
as  their  health  enables  them,  be  defrayed  by  the  Government. 

Directions  will  be  given  by  the  mail  of  this  day  to  engage 
one  or  two  houses  in  a  situation  as  convenient  as  can  be  found 
for  attendance  at  the  Hospital,  or  to  provide  accommodation  in 
the  Barracks  if  thought  more  advisable.  And  instructions  will 
be  given  to  Lord  Stratford  de  Redcliffe  to  afford  you  every 
facility  and  assistance  on  landing  at  Constantinople,  as  also  to 
Dr.  Menzies,  the  Chief  Medical  Officer  of  the  Hospital  at  Scutari, 
who  will  give  you  all  the  aid  in  his  power  and  every  support  in 
the  execution  of  your  arduous  duties. 

The  cost  of  the  passage  both  out  and  home  of  yourself  and 
the  nurses  who  may  accompany  you,  or  who  may  follow  you, 
will  be  defrayed  by  the  Government,  as  also  the  cost  of  house 
rent,  subsistence,  &c.,  &c. ;  and  I  leave  to  your  discretion  the  rate 
of  pay  which  you  may  think  it  advisable  to  give  to  the  different 
persons  acting  under  your  authority. 

In  the  meanwhile  Sir  John  Kirkland,  the  Army  Agent,  has 
received  orders  to  honor  your  drafts  to  the  amount  of  One 
Thousand  Pounds  for  the  necessary  expense  of  outfit,  travelling 
expenses,  &c.,  &c.,  of  which  sum  you  will  render  an  account  to 
the  Purveyor  of  the  Forces  at  Scutari. 

You  will,  for  your  current  expenses,  payment  of  wages,  &c., 
&c.,  apply  to  the  Purveyor  through  the  Chief  Medical  Officer,  in 
charge  of  the  Hospital,  who  will  provide  you  with  the  necessary 

I  feel  confident  that,  with  a  view  to  the  fulfilment  of  the 
arduous  task  you  have  undertaken,  you  will  impress  upon  those 
acting  under  your  orders  the  necessity  of  the  strictest  attention 
to  the  regulations  of  the  Hospital,  and  the  preservation  of  that 
subordination  which  is  indispensable  in  every  Military  Establish- 

And  I  rely  on  your  discretion  and  vigilance  carefully  to  guard 
against  any  attempt  being  made  among  those  under  your 
authority,  selected  as  they  are  with  a  view  to  fitness  and  without 


any  reference  to  religious  creed,  to  make  use  of  their  position  in 
the  Hospitals  to  tamper  with  or  disturb  the  religious  opinions  of 
the  patients  of  any  denomination  whatever,  and  at  once  to  check 
any  such  tendency  and  to  take,  if  necessary,  severe  measures 
to  prevent  its  repetition. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  Madam,  your  most  obedient  servant, 


The  instructions  promised  in  this  letter  were  duly  sent 
to  the  Commander  of  the  Forces,  the  Purveyor-in-Chief, 
and  the  Principal  Medical  Officer ; l  and  the  way  was 
smoothed  for  Miss  Nightingale,  as  they  thought  in  Downing 
Street,  by  supplementary  letters  to  some  of  the  officials. 
A  letter  was  sent  to  the  Purveyor-General  (Oct.  19),  in 
which  "  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  trusts  that  you  will  use  every 
endeavour  to  assist  Miss  Nightingale  in  the  performance 
of  the  arduous  duties  she  has  voluntarily  undertaken,  the 
success  of  which  must  necessarily  depend  upon  the  assistance 
and  co-operation  of  others,  and  cannot  fail  to  be  of  great 
benefit  to  those  Gallant  Men  who  have  suffered  in  the  service 
of  their  country/'  Similarly  Sir  Charles  Trevelyan,  Assist- 
ant-secretary to  the  Treasury,  remarking  that  the  com- 
missariat officers  are  the  bankers  and  stewards  of  the  army, 
wrote,  as  he  told  Miss  Nightingale  (Oct.  20),  "  to  Commissary- 
General  Filder  and  Deputy-Commissary-General  Smith,  the 
Senior  Officer  at  Scutari,  to  request  that  they  will  from  the 
first  give  you  all  the  support  they  are  able,  and  instruct  their 
officers  of  every  grade  to  do  the  same/'  Any  difficulties 
which  might  confront  her  would  not  be  caused,  it  seemed,  by 
lack  of  support  at  home. 


Private  support  was  forthcoming  as  readily  as  official. 
Mr.  Henry  Reeve,  an  old  friend  of  Miss  Nightingale  and  her 
family,  rejoicing  that  she  had  now  "  an  opportunity  of  action 
worthy  of  her,"  spoke  to  the  great  Delane,  and  requested 
him  to  direct  Mr.  Macdonald — who  was  being  sent  out  to 
administer  the  Times  Fund — to  co-operate  with  Miss 
Nightingale.  Mr.  Macdonald  was  a  man,  as  Mr.  Reeve 
testified,  and  as  Miss  Nightingale  was  to  discover — to  the 

1  The  text  of  the  instructions  may  be  found  in  the  Journal  of  the  Royal 
Army  Medical  Corps,  October  1910. 


great  advantage  of  their  common  cause, — "  of  remarkable 
intelligence  and  activity." 

Two  days  after  the  receipt  of  her  official  instructions, 
five  days  after  her  interview  with  Mr.  Herbert,  Miss  Nightin- 
gale and  her  party  left  London  (Oct.  21).  The  amount  of 
work  which  fell  upon  Miss  Nightingale  during  the  ten  days 
(Oct.  12-21)  was  enormous,  and  some  of  the  details  she  was 
obliged  to  delegate  to  others.  The  headquarters  of  the 
expedition  during  its  outfit  were  established  at  Mr.  Sidney 
Herbert's  house  in  Belgrave  Square,  and  there  Miss  Mary 
Stanley  and  Mrs.  Bracebridge  interviewed  applicants.  ^Miss 
Nightingale,  foreseeing  (only  too  truly,  as  the  event  was  to 
show)  the  difficulty  both  of  finding  suitable  women  and  of 
supervising  them,  was  inclined  to  limit  the  number  to  twenty. 
Mr.  Herbert,  thinking  that  such  a  new  departure  should  be 
made  on  a  considerable  scale,  proposed  a  larger  number, 
and  Miss  Nightingale  gave  way.  Forty  was  the  number 
agreed  upon  ;  but  the  material  which  offered  itself  was  not 
promising.  "  Here  we  sit  all  day,"  wrote  Miss  Stanley ; 
"  I  wish  people  who  may  hereafter  complain  of  the  women 
selected  could  have  seen  the  set  we  had  to  choose  from. 
All  London  was  scoured  for  them.  We  sent  emissaries  in 
every  direction  to  every  likely  place.  .  .  .  We  felt  ashamed 
to  have  in  the  house  such  women  as  came.  One  alone  ex- 
pressed a  wish  to  go  from  a  good  motive.  Money  was  the 
only  inducement."  1  Ultimately  thirty-eight  nurses  were 

Mr.  Herbert,  in  the  concluding  passage  of  his  Instruc- 
tions, relied  on  Miss  Nightingale's  vigilance  to  prevent 
religious  "  tampering."  This  was  an  instruction  which  she 
had  discussed  with  him,  for  she  foresaw  (again  only  too  well) 
the  odium  theologicum  that  might  confront  her.  She  was 
primarily  concerned  to  get  the  best  nurses  as  such,  but  she 
was  anxious  also  that  the  different  churches  or  shades 
should  be  represented.  In  this  desire  she  was  in  large 
measure  disappointed.  Application  was  made  both  to  St. 
John's  House,  an  institution  inclined  towards  Tractarianism, 
and  to  the  Protestant  Institution  for  Nurses  in  Devonshire 
Square.  In  each  case  the  answer  was  returned  that  nurses 

1  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  p.  342. 


could  only  be  supplied  if  they  were  to  be  subject  to  their 
own  Committees  ;  the  Government's  condition  of  subjection 
to  Miss  Nightingale's  control  was  rejected.  The  authorities 
of  St.  John's  House  proposed  that  their  nurses  should  be 
accompanied  by  the  Master  of  the  House,  to  act  as  "  their 
guardian."  It  will  readily  be  imagined  how  impossible 
Miss  Nightingale's  position  would  have  been  on  such  terms. 
The  proposal  shows  incidentally  how  little  some  people 
understood  of  the  conditions  of  discipline  necessary  in  a 
military  hospital.  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert,  the  Chaplain- 
General  of  the  Forces,  and  Miss  Nightingale  met  the  Council 
of  St.  John's  House ;  the  point  of  Miss  Nightingale's  ex- 
clusive control  was  conceded,  and  the  Master  stayed  at  home. 
The  Lady  Superior  of  St.  John's  House  at  this  time  was  Miss 
Mary  Jones,  who  to  the  end  of  her  life  remained  one  of  the 
most  valued  and  tenderly  devoted  of  Miss  Nightingale's 
friends.1  The  authorities  in  Devonshire  Square,  on  the 
other  hand,  would  not  surrender  the  point  of  separate  con- 
trol, and  accordingly  no  nurses  were  supplied  by  the  dis- 
tinctively Protestant  institution.  "  We  are  only  vexed/' 
wrote  Lady  Verney,  "  because  Flo  so  earnestly  desired  to 
include  all  shades  of  opinion,  to  prove  that  all,  however  they 
differed,  might  work  together  in  a  common  brotherhood  of 
love  to  God  and  man." 

The  party,  as  ultimately  recruited,  was  composed  of  ten 
Roman  Catholic  Sisters  (five  from  Bermondsey  and  five  from 
Norwood),  eight  Anglican  Sisters  (from  Miss  Sellon's  Home  at 
Devonport),  six  nurses  from  St.  John's  House,  and  fourteen 
from  various  English  hospitals.  It  has  often  been  supposed 
that  the  nurses  who  accompanied  Miss  Nightingale  were  ladies 
of  gentle  birth,  but,  with  a  few  exceptions,  this  was  not 
the  case.  On  the  eve  of  their  departure,  the  nurses  were 
addressed  by  Mr.  Herbert  in  his  dining-room.  He  told 
them  that  if  any  desired  to  turn  back,  now  was  the  time  of 
decision,  and  he  impressed  upon  them  that  all  who  went  were 
bound  implicitly  to  obey  Miss  Nightingale  in  all  things. 
"  All  started  on  their  ways,"  we  are  told,2  "  strengthened 

1  Miss  Jones  resigned  her  appointment  at  St.  John's  House  in  1868, 
owing  to  differences  of  opinion  with  the  Council,  and  set  up  a  private 
nursing  establishment.     She  died  in  1887. 

2  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  p.  342. 


by  his  heart-stirring  words,  and  cheered  no  less  by  the 
sunny  brightness  of  his  presence  than  by  his  kindly  and 
unfailing  sympathy/'  Unhappily  the  effect  was  not  in  all 
cases  permanent,  as  we  shall  hear. 

"  Do  not  answer  this,"  wrote  a  Minister  to  Miss  Nightin- 
gale ;  "  for  I  am  sure  you  must  have  more  on  your  hands 
now  than  a  Secretary  of  State."  But  what  struck  those 
about  her  was  her  perfect  calm.  "  No  one  is  so  well  fitted 
as  she  to  do  such  work,"  wrote  Lady  Canning  to  Lady 
Stuart  de  Rothesay  (Oct.  17)  ;  "  she  has  such  nerve  and 
skill,  and  is  so  wise  and  quiet.  Even  now  she  is  in  no  bustle 
and  hurry,  though  so  much  is  on  her  hands,  and  such  numbers 
of  people  volunteer  services."  She  had  only  one  worry. 
Her  pet  owl  had  died.  When  her  family  were  leaving 
Embley  to  see  her  off,  the  feeding  of  the  owl  was  forgotten 
in  the  hurry  and  flurry.  It  was  embalmed,  and  "  the  only 
tear  its  mistress  shed  through  that  tremendous  week,"  says 
her  sister,  "  was  when  I  put  the  little  body  into  her  hands. 
'  Poor  little  beastie,  it  was  odd  how  much  I  loved  you/  "  a 
For  the  rest,  she  was  "  as  calm  and  composed  in  this  furious 
haste,"  wrote  her  sister  (Oct.  19),  "  with  the  War  Office, 
the  Military  Medical  Board,  half  the  nurses  in  London  to 
speak  to,  her  own  Committee  and  Institution,  as  if  she  were 
going  out  for  a  walk."  She  was  quiet  because,  like  Words- 
worth's Happy  Warrior,  in  the  heat  of  excitement,  she 
"  kept  the  law  in  calmness  made,  and  saw  what  she  foresaw." 
Like  the  character  drawn  by  another  master-hand,  "  in  the 
tumult  she  was  tranquil,"  because  she  had  pondered  when 
at  rest. 

A  small  black  pocket-book  is  preserved  in  which  were 
found,  at  Miss  Nightingale's  death,  a  few  of  the  many  letters 
received  just  before  she  left  England  for  the  East.  Perhaps 
they  were  the  very  last  letters  received  ;  perhaps  they  were 
there  for  other  reasons.  One  spoke  of  a  mother's  love  :— 

1  From  the  Life  and  Death  of  Athena,  an  Owlet  from  the  Parthenon,  a 
manuscript  book  charmingly  written  and  illustrated  by  Lady  Verney. 
She  wrote  it  in  1855,  and  sent  it  to  Scutari  "  to  try  and  make  Flo  and 
Mrs.  Bracebridge  laugh  when  F.  was  recovering  from  her  fever." 


Monday  morning.  God  speed  you  on  your  errand  of  mercy, 
my  own  dearest  child.  I  know  He  will,  for  He  has  given  you 
such  loving  friends,  and  they  will  be  always  at  your  side  to  help 
in  all  your  difficulties.  They  came  just  when  I  felt  that  you 
must  fail  for  want  of  strength,  and  more  mercies  will  come  in 
your  hour  of  need.  They  are  so  wise  and  good,  they  will  be  to 
you  what  no  one  else  could.  They  will  write  to  us,  and  save 
you  in  that  and  in  all  ways.  They  are  to  us  an  earnest  of  blessings 
to  come.  I  do  not  ask  you  to  spare  yourself  for  your  own  sake, 
but  for  the  sake  of  the  cause. — Ever  Thine. 

Another  letter  reminded  her  of  the  love  of  God  : — 

God  will  keep  you.  And  my  prayer  for  you  will  be  that 
your  one  object  of  Worship,  Pattern  of  Imitation,  and  Source  of 
consolation  and  strength  may  be  the  Sacred  Heart  of  our  Divine 
Lord.  Always  yours  for  our  Lord's  sake, 


And  a  third  among  them  was  from  the  friend  whose  life 
she  had  declined  to  share,  but  whose  sympathy  was  still 
precious  to  her  : — 

"  MY  DEAR  FRIEND,"  he  wrote  (Oct.  18),  "  I  hear  you  are 
going  to  the  East.  I  am  happy  it  is  so,  for  the  good  you  will  do 
there,  and  the  hope  that  you  may  find  some  satisfaction  in  it 
yourself.  I  cannot  forget  how  you  went  to  the  East  once  before, 
and  here  am  I  writing  quietly  to  you  about  what  you  are  going 
to  do  now.  You  can  undertake  that,  when  you  could  not  under- 
take me.  God  bless  you,  dear  Friend,  wherever  you  go." 

VOL,  I  M 



On  the  ocean  no  post  brings  us  letters  which  we  are  compelled  to 
answer.  No  newspaper  tempts  us  into  reading  the  last  night's  debate  in 
Parliament.  The  absence  of  distracting  incidents,  the  sameness  of  the 
scene,  and  the  uniformity  of  life  on  board  ship,  leave  us  leisure  for  reflec- 
tion ;  we  are  thrown  in  upon  our  own  thoughts,  and  can  make  up  our 
accounts  with  our  consciences. — FROUDE. 

Miss  NIGHTINGALE  and  her  party  left  London  on  Saturday, 
October  21.  Among  those  who  saw  them  off  was  her 
cousin,  Arthur  Hugh  Clough.  The  principal  halts  were  made 
in  Paris  and  Marseilles.  At  Paris,  Miss  Nightingale  had 
hoped  to  recruit  some  Sisters  for  nursing  service.  She  went 
to  the  headquarters  of  the  Order  of  St.  Vincent  de  Paul, 
furnished  with  letters  from  the  British  Government  and  the 
French  military  authorities,  and  accompanied  by  the  British 
Ambassador's  private  secretary  in  order  to  strengthen  her 
application  ;  but  it  was  refused.1  At  Marseilles,  with  what 
turned  out  to  be  admirable  forethought,  she  laid  in  a  large 
store  of  miscellaneous  provisions.  Her  uncle,  Mr.  Sam 
Smith,  accompanied  the  party  to  Marseilles,  and  from  his 
letters  we  obtain  vivid  glimpses  of  the  expedition  en  route  :— 

"  Kindly  received  everywhere,"  he  wrote  (Oct.  26),  "  by 
French  and  English.  Still  it  was  very  hard  work  for  Flo  to 
keep  40  in  good  humour ;  arranging  the  rooms  of  5  different 
sects  each  night,  before  sitting  down  to  supper,  took  a  long 
time  ;  then  calling  all  to  be  down  at  6  ready  to  start.  She  bears 
all  wonderfully  —  so  calm,  winning  everybody,  French  and 

A  correspondent  wrote  to  the  Times  from    Boulogne, 

1  Letter  to  Captain  Galton,  May  5,  1863. 

CH.  ii        THE  JOURNEY  THROUGH  FRANCE          163 

describing  how  the  arrival  of  the  party  there  caused  so  much 
enthusiasm,  that  the  sturdy  fisherwomen  seized  their  bags 
and  carried  them  to  the  hotel,  refusing  to  accept  the  slightest 
gratuity ;  how  the  landlord  of  the  hotel  gave  them  dinner, 
and  told  them  to  order  what  they  liked,  adding  that  they 
would  not  be  allowed  to  pay  for  anything  ;  and  how  waiters 
and  chambermaids  were  equally  firm  in  refusing  any  ac- 
knowledgment for  their  attentions.  Lady  Verney,  in  a 
letter  to  a  friend,  acutely  noted  a  yet  more  remarkable 
thing,  "  the  railroad  would  not  be  paid  for  her  boxes." 

At  Marseilles  the  expedition  excited  lively  interest,  and 
its  Chief  was  overwhelmed  with  attentions  : — 

"  Where  she  was  seen  or  heard,"  wrote  the  proud  uncle, 
"  there  was  nothing  but  admiration  from  high  and  low.  Her 
calm  dignity  influenced  everybody.  I  am  sure  the  nurses  quite 
love  her  already.  Some  cried  when  she  exhorted  them  at  the 
last,  and  all  promised  well.  Blessings  on  her !  She  makes 
everybody  who  joins  with  her  feel  the  good  and  like  it  (instead 
of  disposing  them  against  it,  as  some  well-meaning  oppositious 
spirits  do)." 

And  again  in  another  letter  : — 

Words  cannot  tell  Mrs.  Bracebridge's  devotion  to  Flo,  nor 
Flo's  to  the  cause.  Neither  sat  down  but  for  a  hurried  meal. 
Shopkeepers,  visitors,  nurses,  servants,  every  single  instant.  Flo 
never  crossed  the  threshold.  There  she  was,  receiving  in  her 
little  bedroom  (not  at  bedtime)  the  Inspector-General,  the 
Consul  and  Agent,  a  Queen's  Messenger,  Times  Correspondent, 
and  two  or  three  shopkeepers  with  the  same  serenity  as  if  in  a 
drawing-room  quite  desceuvree.  Her  influence  on  all  (to  captain 
and  steward  of  boat)  was  wonderful.  The  rough  hospital  nurses, 
on  the  third  day  after  breakfasting  and  dining  with  us  each 
day,  and  receiving  all  her  attentions,  were  quite  humanized  and 
civilized,  their  very  manners  at  table  softened.  "  We  never 
had  so  much  care  taken  of  our  comforts  before  ;  it  is  not  people's 
way  with  us  \  we  had  no  notion  Miss  N.  would  slave  herself 
so  for  us."  She  looked  so  calm  and  noble  in  it  all,  whether 
waiting  on  the  nurses  at  dinner  in  the  station  (because  no  one 
else  would),  or  carrying  parcels,  or  receiving  functionaries. 
The  Bracebridges  are  fuller  than  ever  of  admiration  of  her,  as 
I  am.  She  looked  better  and  handsomer  than  even  the  day  she 
sailed.  I  went  back  with  the  literary  public  of  Marseilles,  all 
full  of  admiration.  It  was  very  doleful  sitting  in  Flo's  deserted 

164          "  WHO  IS  '  MRS.  '  NIGHTINGALE  ?  "         PT.  n 

She  sailed  from  Marseilles  on  board  the  Vectis  on  Friday, 
October  27,  loudly  cheered  from  an  English  vessel  in  the 
harbour,  carrying  with  her,  as  a  friend  had  written,  "  the 
deep  prayers  and  gratitude  of  the  English  people." 


From  the  moment  when  public  announcement  of  her 
mission  was  made,  she  had,  indeed,  become  a  popular 
heroine.  Though  well  known  in  Society,  she  had  been  as  yet 
a  stranger  to  public  fame ;  so  much  so  that  the  Times  itself, 
in  printing  the  announcement  (Oct.  19),  said  :  "  We  are 
authorised  to  state  that  Mrs.  Nightingale,"  etc.  Delane 
cannot  have  kept  his  eye  on  the  news-columns,  for  not  until 
some  days  had  elapsed  was  it  discovered  to  the  public  that 
"  Mrs."  Nightingale  was  in  fact  "  Miss."  "  Who  is  '  Mrs/ 
Nightingale  ?  "  was  a  heading  in  the  Examiner  (Oct.  28), 
and  the  question  was  answered  in  a  biographical  article. 
Some  passages  of  it  deserve  record  here,  for  it  went  the 
round  of  the  press  throughout  the  world,  and  was  the  source 
from  which,  from  that  day  to  this,  the  popular  idea  of 
Florence  Nightingale  has  been  derived.  The  article  stated 
succinctly,  and  with  substantial  accuracy,  the  course  of 
her  life  ;  dwelt  upon  the  facts  that  she  was  "  young,  grace- 
ful, feminine,  rich,  and  popular " ;  enlarged,  with  less 
accuracy,  upon  her  delight  in  the  "  palpable  and  heart-felt 
attractions  "  of  her  home ;  described  her  forsaking  the 
"  assemblies,  lectures,  concerts,  exhibitions,  and  all  the 
entertainments  for  taste  and  intellect  with  which  London 
in  its  season  abounds,"  in  order  to  sit  beside  the  sick  and 
dying  ;  and  concluded  thus  :  She  had  set  out  for  the  scene 
of  war 

...  at  the  risk  of  her  own  life,  at  the  pang  of  separation  from 
all  her  friends  and  family,  and  at  the  certainty  of  encountering 
hardship,  dangers,  toils,  and  the  constantly  renewing  scene  of 
human  suffering,  amid  all  the  worst  horrors  of  war.  There  are 
few  who  would  not  recoil  from  such  realities,  but  Miss  Nightin- 
gale shrank  not,  and  at  once  accepted  the  request  that  was  made 
her  to  form  and  control  the  entire  nursing  establishment  for  all 
sick  and  wounded  soldiers  and  sailors  in  the  Levant.  While  we 
write,  this  deliberate,  sensitive,  and  highly-endowed  young  lady 


is  already  at  her  post,  rendering  the  holiest  of  women's  charities 
to  the  sick,  the  dying,  and  the  convalescent.  There  is  a  heroism 
in  dashing  up  the  heights  of  Alma  in  defiance  of  death  and  all 
mortal  opposition,  and  let  all  praise  and  honour  be,  as  they  are, 
bestowed  upon  it ;  but  there  is  a  quiet  forecasting  heroism  and 
largeness  of  heart  in  this  lady's  resolute  accumulation  of  the 
powers  of  consolation,  and  her  devoted  application  of  them, 
which  rank  as  high  and  are  at  least  as  pure.  A  sage  few  will 
no  doubt  condemn,  sneer  at,  or  pity  an  enthusiasm  which  to 
them  seems  eccentric,  or  at  best  misplaced  ;  but  to  the  true  heart 
of  the  country  it  will  speak  home,  and  be  there  felt  that  there  is 
not  one  of  England's  proudest  and  purest  daughters  who  at  this 
moment  stands  on  so  high  a  pinnacle  as  Florence  Nightingale. 

The  discovery  by  the  public  that  the  head  of  the  Nursing 
Expedition  was  not  "  Mrs/'  Nightingale,  a  matron,  but  a 
young  lady,  "  graceful,  rich,  and  popular/'  added  to  the 
enthusiasm  which  her  devotion  called  forth.  Her  services 
were  rendered  gratuitously ;  her  necessary  expenses  were 
to  be  defrayed  by  the  Government,  and  officialdom  opined 
that  no  voluntary  contributions,  either  in  money  or  in  kind, 
were  needed.  Happily  for  the  comfort  of  our  soldiers  in 
the  East,  private,  individuals  took  a  different  view,  and — 
in  addition  to  the  Times  Fund — donations  were  sent  to 
Miss  Nightingale  personally,  both  by  her  friends  and  by  the 
general  public.  An  account  rendered  after  her  return 1  from 
the  East  shows  that  from  the  general  public  she  received 
nearly  £7000  in  money.  This  fund,  added  to  the  help  which 
she  obtained  from  the  Times,  and  supplemented  by  expendi- 
ture out  of  her  private  purse,  enabled  Miss  Nightingale 
greatly  to  extend  the  scope  of  her  work.  The  statement 
that  she  was  rich  requires  some  qualification.  Her  father 
was  rich,  but  the  personal  allowance  which  he  had  made  to 
her,  when  she  declared  her  independence  in  1853,  was  £500 
a  year,  and  it  remained  at  this  figure  for  several  years. 
During  her  mission  to  the  East  she  devoted  the  whole  of 
it  to  her  work. 

Gifts  in  kind  and  offers  of  personal  service  also  poured  in. 

Now  that  Miss  Nightingale  was  at  sea,  the  task  of  dealing 

with  such  matters  was  undertaken  by  her  sister  and  a  friend. 

The  Nightingale  family  had  taken  a  house  for  the  time  in 

1  The  Statement  (see  Bibliography  A,  No.  5). 


Cavendish  Square  (No.  4),  which  became  the  headquarters 
of  a  charitable  bureau. 

"  I  am  well  nigh  writ  out,"  wrote  Lady  Verney  to  Madame 
Mohl  (Nov.  6),  "  170  letters  to  answer  in  the  last  fortnight,  and 
very  difficult  ones,  some  of  them.  I  should  like  you  to  hear  a 
batch  of  the  offers  of  all  kinds  we  receive,  some  so  pretty,  some 
so  queer.  Old  linen  is  abating,  I  am  happy  to  say  ;  even  knitted 
socks  are  slacker ;  but  nurses,  rabble  and  respectable,  ladies, 
and  very  much  the  reverse,  continue  to  rain.  It  is  tremendous  ; 
however,  having  reached  No.  276,  we  are  going  to  shut  the  door. 
Mary  Stanley  and  I  sit  daily  at  the  receipt  of  custom,  and  funny 
things  do  we  see  and  hear  !  Human  nature  is  a  wondrous  work, 
whether  of  God  Almighty  I  sometimes  begin  to  doubt." 

It  is  worth  noting,  in  view  of  an  unfortunate  dispute 
that  presently  arose,  that  both  Lady  Verney  and  Miss 
Stanley  distinctly  understood  that  additional  nurses  would 
only  be  sent  "  if  Flo  asks."  All  applicants  were  so  informed  ; 
but  so  keen  was  the  desire  to  serve,  that  "  many  ladies," 
so  Lady  Verney  wrote,  "  are  undergoing  hospital  training 
on  chance." 


Miss  Nightingale,  meanwhile,  was  at  sea  on  her  way  to 
Constantinople,  revolving  many  things  in  her  mind.  She 
had  been  called  to  a  mission  upon  which  issues  very  near  to 
her  heart  depended.  If  it  succeeded,  then,  as  Mr.  Herbert 
had  written  to  her,  not  only  would  an  enormous  amount  of 
good  be  done  now  to  the  sick  and  wounded,  but  "  a  prejudice 
would  have  been  broken  through,  and  a  precedent  estab- 
lished, which  would  multiply  the  good  to  all  time."  And 
so,  as  we  all  know,  it  was  destined  to  be.  But  at  the  time 
the  fate  of  the  experiment  was  doubtful.  It  was  Mr. 
Herbert's  conviction  that  no  one  except  Florence  Nightingale 
could  make  it  succeed,  but  it  was  by  no  means  certain  that 
even  she  could  do  so.  She  took  in  her  hands  the  reputation 
of  the  Minister  who  trusted  her,  and  her  own  ;  and  not  her 
reputation  only,  but  the  hopes,  the  aspirations,  the  ambi- 
tions which  had  ruled  her  life. 

She  determined  to  succeed,  and  she  counted  the  diffi- 
culties which  would  confront  her.  Writing  two  years  later 


and  giving  account  of  her  stewardship,  she  paid  her  tribute 
of  thanks  to  those  "  among  the  officials,  medical  as  well  as 
military,  to  whose  benevolence,  ability,  and  unselfish  devo- 
tion to  duty  she  was  indebted  for  facilities,  without  which, 
in  a  position  such  as  hers,  new  to  the  service,  and  exposed 
to  much  criticism  and  difficulty,  she  would  have  been  utterly 
unable  to  perform  the  work  entrusted  to  her."  1  She  saw 
from  the  start  that  she  would  be  exposed,  in  the  very  nature 
of  the  case,  to  some  medical  jealousy  and  much  military 

The  idea  of  employing  female  nurses  at  Scutari  had  been 
mooted  before  the  army  left  for  the  East,  but  was  abandoned, 
as  the  Duke  of  Newcastle  explained,  because  "  it  was  not 
liked  by  the  military  authorities." 2  Of  the  military 
prejudice  against  the  intrusion  of  women,  even  for  the 
gentle  office  of  nursing,  into  the  rough  work  of  war,  some 
entertaining  illustrations  are  happily  on  record.  Lieutenant- 
Colonel  Sterling,  afterwards  Sir  Anthony  Sterling,  K.C.B., 
was  on  active  service  during  the  Crimean  campaign,  first 
as  brigade-major,  and  afterwards  as  assistant  adjutant- 
general  to  the  Highland  division.  He  was  an  elder  brother 
of  Carlyle's  John  Sterling,  and  himself  possessed  of  some 
literary  skill.  "  A  solid,  substantial  man/'  Carlyle  calls 
him  ;  he  was  also  a  man  who  loved  to  stand  by  the  ancient 
ways.  He  wrote  a  series  of  lively  letters  during  the  cam- 
paign, and  in  his  will  directed  that  they  should  be  published. 
Nowhere,  so  clearly  as  in  Sterling's  Highland  Brigade  in  the 
Crimea,  have  I  found  contemporary  evidence  of  the  pre- 
judices against  which  the  experiment  of  Mr.  Herbert  and 
Miss  Nightingale  had  to  contend.  During  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's visit  to  Balaclava  in  1855,  some  dispute  arose  among 

the  nurses.     "  Miss has  added  herself,"  wrote  Colonel 

Sterling,  "  to  the  hospital  of  the  42nd  ;  and  will  not  acknow- 
ledge the  voice  of  the  Nightingale,  who  has  written  an 
official  letter  to  Lord  Raglan  on  the  subject.  I  suppose  he 
will  order  a  court-martial  composed  of  nurses,  who  will 
administer  queer  justice."  Our  Colonel  is  something  of  a 
wag.  He  cannot  help  laughing  at  "  the  Nightingale," 
because,  as  he  explains,  he  has  such  "  a  keen  sense  of  the 

1  Statement,  pp.  3-4.  2  Roebuck  Committee,  Q.  14625. 


ridiculous."  He  is  so  pleased  with  his  quip  about  the  female 
court-martial  that  he  returns  to  it  in  another  letter.  He  is 
tickled,  too,  by  a  saying  of  the  mess-room,  that  "  Miss 
Nightingale  has  shaved  her  head  to  keep  out  vermin."  One 
can  almost  hear  the  honest  Colonel's  guffaw  as  he  wonders 
whether  "  she  will  wear  a  wig  or  a  helmet  ?  "  Women,  he 
supposes,  imagine  that  "  war  can  be  made  without  wounds  "  ; 
they  will  be  teaching  us  how  to  fight  next ;  and  as  for  their 
ideas  of  nursing,  why  some  of  the  ladies  actually  took  to 
"  scrubbing  floors  "  !  It  amused  him,  but  angered  him  no 
less.  He  has  to  admit  that  he  believes  "  the  Nightingale  " 
has  been  of  some  use  ;  but  he  bitterly  resents  her  "  capture  " 
of  orderlies  for  mere  purposes  of  nursing,  and  when  he  is 
asked,  "  When  will  she  go  home  ?  "  answers  with  Christopher 
Sly,  "  Would  it  were  done."  "  However,"  he  writes, 

" (presumably  Sidney  Herbert)  is  gone ;    and  I  hope 

there  is  not  to  be  found  another  Minister  who  will  allow 
these  absurdities."  Miss  Nightingale  read  Sir  Anthony's 
book  when  it  came  out  in  1895,  and  made  some  severe 
marginalia  upon  it ;  remarking  upon  his  "  absolute  ignorance 
of  sanitary  things,"  noting  the  "  misprints  as  a  fair  index  to 
the  whole,"  and  finally  dismissing  the  book  as  "  one  long 
string  of  Seniority  complaints."  But  I  protest  that  she 
need  not  have  been  so  angry.  And,  indeed,  perhaps  she  was 
not  so  angry  as  she  seemed,  for  her  caustic  pen  was  not 
always  a  true  index  of  her  mind.  For  my  part  I  take  my 
hat  off  to  Sir  Anthony  Absolute.  His  honest,  old-fashioned 
outbursts  let  in  a  flood  of  light  upon  one  side  of  the  diffi- 
culties which  were  to  confront  Miss  Nightingale  upon  landing 
at  Scutari. 

She  pondered  much  also  upon  the  possibilities  of  friction 
with  the  medical  officers  ;  and  here,  too,  our  Colonel  has 
some  light  to  give  us.  "  The  Chief  Medical  Officer  out  here," 
he  wrote,  "  ought  to  have  been  intrusted  with  Nightingale 
powers."  The  Service  in  all  its  branches  stuck  together,  it 
will  be  seen,  and  no  blame  to  it  for  that !  But  if  a  fighting 
colonel  smarted  under  what  he  deemed  a  slight  upon  an 
army  medical  officer,  how  much  more  might  the  Medical 
Service  itself  be  expected  to  resent  any  encroachment  upon 
its  appointed  province  !  How  keenly  it  did  resent  such 


encroachment  may  be  gathered  from  the  Life  and  Letters  of 
Sir  John  Hall,  M.D.,  by  Mr.  Mitra,  whose  book  supplies  us 
with  the  same  kind  of  illustration  in  regard  to  the  army 
doctors  that  we  may  gather  from  Colonel  Sterling's  in  regard 
to  the  soldiers.  Sir  John,  like  Sir  Anthony,  thought  the 
whole  thing  "  very  droll."  He  was  stationed  in  the  Crimea, 
and  we  shall  hear  something  of  the  strained  relations  between 
him  and  Miss  Nightingale,  when  we  follow  her  thither. 
But  at  Scutari  also,  there  were  some  few  medical  officers 
who  retained  even  to  the  last  a  ridiculous  jealousy  of  any 
"  meddling "  by  Miss  Nightingale  and  her  staff.1  She 
foresaw  this  danger,  and  made  up  her  mind  to  avert  it  by 
every  means  in  her  power. 

And  there  was  a  third  danger  which  she  foresaw  also. 
Not  only  had  she  to  overcome  military  prejudice  and  to 
avert  medical  jealousy,  but  she  had  also  to  prevent  religious 
disputation.  This  last  task  was  beyond  her  powers,  as  it 
has  ever  proved  beyond  those  of  men,  women,  and  angels  ; 
for  by  this  cause  even  the  angels  fell.  No  work,  however 
beneficent,  has  ever  yet  been  found  beyond  the  capacity  of 
the  odium  theologicum  to  mar  and  embitter.  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's mission  did  not  escape  the  common  lot,  as  we  shall 
hear  ;  but  she  was  keenly  sensible  of  the  danger. 

Miss  Nightingale  pondered  over  all  these  things  as  the 
ship  sped  on  its  way  to  the  Golden  Horn  ;  and  the  more  she 
pondered,  the  more  she  was  driven  to  decide  upon  a  course 
of  action,  very  different  from  what  many  people  supposed 
that  she  would  adopt,  but  entirely  consonant  with  the  bent 
of  her  own  mind.  She  saw  quite  clearly  that,  if  she  was  to 
avoid  the  rocks  ahead  of  her,  what  was  needed  was  not  so 
much  genial,  impulsive  kindness,  reckless  of  rules  and 
defiant  of  constituted  authority,  but  rather  strict  method, 
stern  discipline,  and  rigid  subordination.  The  criticisms 
to  which  she  exposed  herself  in  the  superintendence  of  her 
nurses  were  based,  not  upon  laxity,  but  upon  her  alleged 
severity.2  As  for  her  own  conduct,  she  supposed  that  her 
work,  when  she  landed,  would  be  that  of  the  matron  of  a 
hospital.  If,  as  it  turned  out,  she  became  rather  (as  she 

1  Pincoffs,  p.  79 

-  nncojjs,  p.  79. 
See  on  this  point  the  references  given  below,  p.  210  n. 

170         NEW  OCCASIONS  AND  NEW  DUTIES        PT.  n 

put  it)  mistress  of  a  barrack,  it  was  because  she  found 
herself  in  the  midst  of  conditions  which  the  constituted 
authorities  at  home  had  not  foreseen,  and  before  which  those 
on  the  spot  stood  powerless.  Miss  Nightingale  was  happily 
possessed  of  an  original  mind  and  a  resolute  will.  She  saw 
evils  which  cried  out  for  remedies ;  and  new  occasions 
taught  new  duties. 



Dearth  of  creative  brain-power  showed  itself  in  our  Levantine  hospitals, 
for  there  industrious  functionaries  worked  hard  at  their  accustomed  tasks, 
and  doggedly  omitted  to  innovate  at  times  when  not  to  be  innovating 
was  surrendering,  as  it  were,  at  discretion  to  want  and  misery.  But 
happily,  after  a  while,  and  in  gentle,  almost  humble,  disguise,  which  put 
foes  of  change  off  their  guard,  there  acceded  to  the  state  a  new  power. — 


Miss  NIGHTINGALE  reported  the  arrival  of  her  expedition  at 
Constantinople  in  a  short  note  to  her  parents  :— 

CONSTANTINOPLE,  November  4,  on  board  Vectis. — DEAREST 
PEOPLE — Anchored  off  the  Seraglio  point,  waiting  for  our  fate 
whether  we  can  disembark  direct  into  the  Hospital,  which,  with 
our  heterogeneous  mass,  we  should  prefer. 

At  six  o'clock  yesterday  morn  I  staggered  on  deck  to  look 
at  the  plains  of  Troy,  the  tomb  of  Achilles,  the  mouths  of  the 
Scamander,  the  little  harbour  of  Tenedos,  between  which  and 
the  mainshore  our  Vectis,  with  steward's  cabins  and  galley  torn 
away,  blustering,  creaking,  shrieking,  storming,  rushed  on  her 
way.  It  was  in  a  dense  mist  that  the  ghosts  of  the  Trojans 
answered  my  cordial  hail,  through  which  the  old  Gods,  neverthe- 
less, peered  down  from  the  hill  of  Ida  upon  their  old  plain.  My 
enthusiasm  for  the  heroes  though  was  undiminished  by  wind  and 

We  made  the  castles  of  Europe  and  Asia  (Dardanelles)  by 
eleven,  but  also  reached  Constantinople  this  morn  in  a  thick 
and  heavy  rain,  through  which  the  Sophia,  Sulieman,  the  Seven 
Towers,  the  walls,  and  the  Golden  Horn  looked  like  a  bad 
daguerrotype  washed  out. 

We  have  not  yet  heard  what  the  Embassy  or  Military  Hospital 
have  done  for  us,  nor  received  our  orders. 

Bad  news  from  Balaclava.  You  will  hear  the  awful  wreck  of 
our  poor  cavalry,  400  wounded,  arriving  at  this  moment  for  us 
to  nurse.  We  have  just  built  another  hospital  at  the  Dardanelles. 



You  will  want  to  know  about  our  crew.  One  has  turned  out 
ill,  others  will  do. 

(Later)  Just  starting  for  Scutari.  We  are  to  be  housed  in  the 
Hospital  this  very  afternoon.  Everybody  is  most  kind.  The 
fresh  wounded  are,  I  believe,  to  be  placed  under  our  care.  They 
are  landing  them  now. 

The  Hospital,  to  which  Miss  Nightingale  refers,  was  to 
be  the  chief  scene  of  her  labours  for  the  next  six  months, 
and  a  few  particulars  about  it  and  other  hospitals,  in  which 
the  nursing  was  under  her  superintendence,  must  be  given 
in  order  to  make  future  proceedings  intelligible.  The 
principal  hospitals  of  the  British  army  during  the  Crimean 
War — four  in  number — were  at  Scutari  (or  in  its  immediate 
neighbourhood),  the  suburb  of  mournful  beauty  which  looks 
across  to  Constantinople  from  the  Asiatic  side  of  the  Bos- 

The  first  hospital  to  be  established  was  in  the  Turkish 
Military  Hospital.  This  was  made  over  to  the  British  in 
May  1854,  and  was  called  by  them  The  General  Hospital. 
Having  been  originally  designed  for  a  hospital,  and  being 
given  up  to  the  English  partially  fitted,  it  was,  wrote  Miss 
Nightingale,  "  reduced  to  good  order  early,  by  the  un- 
wearied efforts  of  the  first-class  Staff  Surgeon  in  intro- 
ducing a  good  working  system.  It  was  then  maintained 
in  excellent  condition  till  the  close  of  the  war."  1  It  had 
accommodation  for  1000  patients,  but  the  Battle  of  the 
Alma  showed  that  much  larger  accommodation  would  be 

North  of  the  General  Hospital,  and  near  to  the  famous 
Turkish  cemetery  of  Scutari,  are  the  Selimiyeh  Barracks — a 
great  yellow  building  with  square  towers  at  each  angle. 
This  building  was  made  over  to  the  British  for  use  as  a 
hospital  after  the  Battle  of  the  Alma,  and  by  them  was 
always  called  The  Barrack  Hospital.  This  is  the  hospital 
in  which  Miss  Nightingale  and  her  band  of  female  nurses 
were  first  established,  and  in  which  she  herself  had  her 
headquarters  throughout  her  stay  at  Scutari.  It  is  built 
on  rising  ground,  in  a  beautiful  situation,  looking  over  the 
Sea  of  Marmora  on  one  side,  towards  the  Princes'  Islands  on 

1  Statement,  p.  13  n. 


another,  and  towards  Constantinople  and  up  the  Bosphorus 
on  a  third.  "  I  have  not  been  out  of  the  Hospital  Walls 
yet/'  wrote  Miss  Nightingale  ten  days  after  her  arrival, 
"  but  the  most  beautiful  view  in  all  the  world,  I  believe,  lies 
outside."  Her  quarters  were  in  the  north-west  tower,  on 
the  left  of  the  Main  Guard  (or  principal  entrance).  There 
was  a  large  kitchen  or  storeroom,  of  which  we  shall  hear 
more  presently,  and  out  of  it  on  either  side  various  other 
rooms  opened.  Mr.  Bracebridge  and  the  courier  slept  in 
one  small  room  ;  Miss  Nightingale  and  Mrs.  Bracebridge  in 
another.  The  nurses  slept  in  other  rooms.  The  whole 
space  occupied  by  Miss  Nightingale  and  her  nurses  was 
about  equal  to  that  allotted  to  three  medical  officers  and 
their  servants,  or  to  that  occupied  by  the  Commandant. 
"  This  was  done,"  she  explained,  "in  order  to  make  no 
pressure  for  room  on  an  already  overcrowded  hospital.  It 
could  not  have  been  done  with  justice  to  the  women's 
health,  had  not  Miss  Nightingale  later  taken  a  house  in 
Scutari  at  private  expense,  to  which  every  nurse  attacked 
with  fever  was  removed."  l  The  quarters  were  as  uncom- 
fortable as  they  were  cramped.  "  Occasionally,"  wrote 
Miss  Nightingale,  "  our  roof  is  torn  off,  or  the  windows  are 
blown  in,  and  we  are  under  water  for  the  night."  The 
Hospital  was  infested  also  with  rodents  and  vermin  ;  and, 
among  other  new  accomplishments  acquired  under  the 
stress  of  new  occasions,  Miss  Nightingale  became  an  expert 
rat-killer.  This  skill  was  afterwards  called  into  use  at 
Balaclava.  In  the  spring  of  1856,  one  of  the  nuns  whom 
she  had  taken  with  her  to  the  Crimea — Sister  Mary  Martha- 
had  a  dangerous  attack  of  fever.  Miss  Nightingale  nursed 
the  case  ;  and  one  night,  while  watching  by  the  sick-bed, 
she  saw  a  large  rat  upon  the  rafters  over  the  Sister's  head  ; 
she  succeeded  in  knocking  it  down  and  killing  it,  without 
disturbing  the  patient.2  The  condition  of  physical  dis- 
comfort in  which,  surrounded  by  terrible  scenes  of  suffering, 
she  had  to  do  her  work,  should  be  remembered  in  taking 
the  measure  of  her  fortitude  and  devotion.3 

1  Notes  (Bibliography  A,  No.  8),  sec.  iii.  p.  xxxiii. 

2  Grant,  p.  174. 

3  For  a  lively  description  of  like  discomforts  endured  by  her  staff, 
see  Eastern  Hospitals,  vol.  i.  pp.  91-94. 


The  maximum  number  of  patients  accommodated  at 
any  one  time  (Dec.  23,  1854)  m  tne  Barrack  Hospital  was 
2434.  It  was  half-an-hour's  walk  from  the  General  Hospital, 
and  an  invalided  soldier  records  that  he  used  to  accompany 
Miss  Nightingale  from  one  hospital  to  another  in  order  to 
light  her  home  on  wet  stormy  nights,  across  the  barren 
common  which  lay  between  them. 

Farther  south  of  the  General  Hospital,  in  the  quarter  of 
Haidar  Pasha,  was  what  was  known  as  The  Palace  Hospital, 
consisting  of  various  buildings  belonging  to  the  Sultan's 
Summer  Palace.  These  were  occupied  as  a  hospital  in 
January  1855.  Miss  Nightingale  had  no  responsibility 
here  ;  but  in  the  summer  of  1855,  the  female  nursing  of  sick 
officers,  quartered  in  one  of  these  buildings,  was  placed 
under  the  superintendence  of  Mrs.  Willoughby  Moore,  the 
widow  of  an  officer  who  had  died  a  noble  death  in  the  war, 
and  four  female  nurses,  sent  out  specially  from  England. 

Finally,  there  were  hospitals  at  Koulali,  four  or  five 
miles  farther  north,  upon  the  same  Asiatic  shore  of  the 
Bosphorus.  These  hospitals  were  opened  in  December  1854. 
The  nursing  in  them  was  originally  under  Miss  Nightingale's 
supervision,  but  she  was  presently  relieved  of  it  (p.  193  n.). 
The  hospitals  were  broken  up  in  November  1855,  when,  of  the 
female  nursing  establishment,  a  portion  went  home,  and 
the  rest  passed  under  Miss  Nightingale  into  the  hospitals  at 

There  were  also  five  hospitals  in  the  Crimea,  but  particu- 
lars of  these  may  be  deferred  till  the  time  comes  for  following 
Miss  Nightingale  upon  her  expeditions  to  the  front.  For 
the  nursing  in  the  Civil  Military  Hospitals  (i.e.  hospitals 
controlled  by  a  civilian  medical  staff)  at  Renkioi  (on  the 
Dardanelles)  and  at  Smyrna,  and  for  the  Naval  Hospital 
at  Therapia,  Miss  Nightingale  had  no  responsibility,  though 
there  is  voluminous  correspondence  among  her  papers 
showing  that  she  was  constantly  consulted  upon  the  site 
and  arrangements  of  these  hospitals.  The  medical  super- 
intendent of  the  hospital  at  Renkioi  was  Dr.  E.  A.  Parkes, 
with  whom  Miss  Nightingale  formed  a  friendship  which 
endured  to  the  end  of  his  life. 



The  state  of  the  hospitals  when  Miss  Nightingale  arrived 
requires  some  description,  which,  however,  need  not  be  long. 
The  treatment  of  the  sick  and  wounded  during  the  Crimean 
War  was  the  subject  of  Departmental  Inquiries,  Select 
Committees,  and  Royal  Commissions,  which,  when  they 
had  finished  sitting  upon  the  hospitals,  began  sitting  upon 
each  other.  Enormous  piles  of  Blue-books  were  accumu- 
lated, and  in  the  course  of  my  work  I  have  disturbed  much 
dust  upon  them.  The  conduct  of  every  department  and 
every  individual  concerned  was  the  subject  of  charge, 
answer,  and  countercharge  innumerable.  Each  generation 
deserves,  no  doubt,  the  records  of  mal-administration  which 
it  gets  ;  but  one  generation  need  not  be  punished  by  having 
to  examine  in  detail  the  records  of  another.  Some  of  the 
details  of  the  Crimean  muddle  will  indeed  necessarily  be 
disinterred  in  the  course  of  our  story ;  but  all  that  need 
here  be  collected  from  the  heaps  aforesaid  are  three  general 

The  reader  must  remember,  in  the  first  place,  that,  apart 
from  controverted  particulars,  it  was  made  abundantly 
manifest  that  there  was  gross  neglect  in  the  service  of  the 
sick  and  wounded.  The  conflict  of  testimony  is  readily 
intelligible.  It  was  easy  to  give  an  account  based  upon  the 
facts  of  one  hospital  or  of  one  time  which  was  not  applicable 
to  another.  At  Scutari,  for  instance,  the  General  Hospital 
was  from  the  first  better  ordered  than  the  Barrack  Hospital. 
Then,  again,  different  witnesses  had  different  standards  of 
what  was  "  good  "  in  War  Hospitals  ;  to  some,  anything 
was  good  if  it  was  no  worse  than  the  standard  of  the  Pen- 
insular War.  Of  Sir  George  Brown,  who  commanded  the 
Light  Division  in  the  Crimea,  it  was  said :  "  As  he  was 
thrown  into  a  cart  on  some  straw  when  shot  through  the 
legs  in  Spain,  he  thinks  the  same  conveyances  admirable 
now,  and  hates  ambulances  as  the  invention  of  the  Evil 
One."  x  Miss  Nightingale  had  much  indignant  sarcasm  for 
those  who  seemed  content  that  the  soldier  in  hospital  should 

1  J.  B.  Atkins,  Life  of  Sir  W.  H.  Russell,  vol.  i.  p.  143. 


be  placed  in  the  condition  of  "  former  wars/'  instead  of 
perceiving  that  he  "  should  be  treated  with  that  degree  of 
decency  and  humanity  which  the  improved  feeling  of  the 
nineteenth  century  demands."  But  the  principal  reason  for 
the  conflict  of  testimony  was  that  the  very  facts  of  protest 
and  inquiry  put  all  the  officials  concerned  upon  the  defensive. 
Any  suggestion  of  default  or  defect  was  resented  as  a  per- 
sonal imputation.  There  is  a  curious  illustration  in  the 
letter  which  the  Head  of  the  Army  Medical  Department 
wrote  to  his  Principal  Medical  Officer  in  view  of  the  Roebuck 
Committee.  "  I  beg  you  to  supply  me,  and  that  immedi- 
ately " — with  what  ?  with  the  truth,  the  whole  truth,  and 
nothing  but  the  truth  ?  No — "  with  every  kind  of  informa- 
tion which  you  may  deem  likely  to  enable  me  to  establish 
a  character  for  it  [the  Department],  which  the  public  appear 
desirous  to  prove  that  it  does  not  possess/'  x  But  though 
there  was  much  conflict  of  evidence,  the  final  verdict  was 
decisive.  What  Greville  wrote  in  his  Journal — "  the  ac- 
counts published  in  the  Times  turn  out  to  be  true  " — was 
established  by  official  inquiry  and  admitted  by  Ministers. 
In  consequence  of  the  indictment  in  the  Times,  a  Commission 
of  Inquiry  was  dispatched  to  the  East  by  the  Secretary  of 
State.  The  Commission  arrived  at  Constantinople  simul- 
taneously with  Miss  Nightingale,  and  four  months  later  it 
reported  to  the  Duke  of  Newcastle.2  I  need  not  trouble  the 
reader  here  with  many  particulars  of  its  Report ;  for  they 
were  adopted  and  confirmed  by  a  Select  Committee  of  the 
House  of  Commons  a  few  months  later  (the  famous  "  Roe- 
buck Committee "),  which  pronounced  succinct  sentence 
that  "  the  state  of  the  hospitals  was  disgraceful."  The 
ships  which  brought  the  sick  and  wounded  from  the  Crimea 
were  painfully  ill-equipped.  The  voyage  from  Balaclava  to 
Scutari  usually  took  eight  days  and  a  half.  During  the  first 
four  months  of  the  war,  there  died  on  a  voyage,  no  longer 
than  from  Tynemouth  to  London,  74  out  of  every  1000 
embarked.  The  landing  arrangements  added  to  the  men's 
sufferings.  To  an  unpractised  eye  the  buildings  used  as 

1  Notes,  sec.  i.  p.  xxii. 

2  This  Commission  is  referred  to  on  later  pages  as  "  The  Duke  of  New- 


hospitals  at  Scutari  were  imposing  and  convenient ;  and 
this  fact  accounts  for  some  of  the  rose-coloured  descriptions 
by  which  persons  in  high  places  were  for  a  time  misled. 
Even  the  Principal  Medical  Officer  on  the  spot  was  naively 
content  with  whitewash  as  a  preparation  to  fit  the  Barrack 
for  use  as  a  hospital.  In  fact,  however,  the  buildings  were 
pest-houses.  Underneath  the  great  structures  "  were  sewers 
of  the  worst  possible  construction,  loaded  with  filth,  mere 
cesspools,  in  fact,  through  which  the  wind  blew  sewer  air 
up  the  pipes  of  numerous  open  privies  into  the  corridors 
and  wards  where  the  sick  were  lying/' 1  There  was  also 
frightful  overcrowding.  For  many  months  the  space  for 
each  patient  was  one-fourth  of  what  it  ought  to  have  been. 
And  there  was  no  proper  ventilation.  "It  is  impossible," 
Miss  Nightingale  told  the  Royal  Commission  of  1857,  "  to 
describe  the  state  of  the  atmosphere  of  the  Barrack  Hospital 
at  night.  I  have  been  well  acquainted  with  the  dwellings 
of  the  worst  parts  of  most  of  the  great  cities  in  Europe, 
but  have  never  been  in  any  atmosphere  which  I  could 
compare  with  it."  Lastly,  hospital  comforts,  and  even 
many  hospital  necessaries,  were  deficient.2  The  supply  of 
bedsteads  was  inadequate.  The  commonest  utensils,  for 
decency  as  well  as  for  comfort,  were  lacking.  The  sheets, 
said  Miss  Nightingale,  "  were  of  canvas,  and  so  coarse  that 
the  wounded  men  begged  to  be  left  in  their  blankets.  It 
was  indeed  impossible  to  put  men  in  such  a  state  of  emacia- 
tion into  those  sheets.  There  was  no  bedroom  furniture  of 
any  kind,  and  only  empty  beer  or  wine  bottles  for  candle- 
sticks." Necessary  surgical  and  medical  appliances  were 
often  either  wanting  or  not  forthcoming.  There  was  no 
machinery,  until  Miss  Nightingale  came,  for  providing  any 
hospital  delicacies.  The  result  of  this  state  of  things  upon 
patients  arriving  after  a  painful  voyage  in  an  extreme  state 
of  weakness  and  emaciation,  from  wounds,  from  frost-bite, 

1  Notes,  sec.  iii.  pp.  iii.,  ix. 

2  If  any  reader  desires  to  be  sickened,  I  recommend  to  him  the  Report 
on  the  Hospitals  by  the  Sanitary  Commissioners  of  1855.     And  if  any  one 
desires  to  find  painful  details  under  some  of  these  heads  detailed  above, 
without  recourse  to  Blue-books,  he  may  be  referred  to  the  report  in  Hansard 
of  the  speech  made  by  Mr.  Augustus  Stafford  (an  eye-witness  of  what  he 
described)  in  the  House  of  Commons,  Jan.  29,  1855. 

VOL.  I  N 


from  dysentery,  may  be  imagined,  and  it  is  no  wonder  that 
cholera  and  typhus  were  rife.  In  February  1855  the  mor- 
tality per  cent  of  the  cases  treated  was  forty-two.  No 
words  are  necessary  to  emphasize  so  terrible  a  figure. 

Mr.  Herbert  had  not  waited  for  the  reports  of  Commis- 
sion and  Committee  to  reach  the  conclusion  that  things  were 
wrong : — 

"  I  have  for  some  time,"  he  wrote  on  December  14,  1854, 
to  the  Commandant  at  Scutari,  "  been  very  anxious  and  very 
much  dissatisfied  as  to  the  state  of  the  hospital.  I  believe  that 
every  effort  has  been  made  by  the  medical  men,  and  I  hear  that 
you  have  been  indefatigable  in  the  conduct  of  the  immediate 
business  of  your  department.  But  there  has  been  evidently  a 
want  of  co-operation  between  departments,  and  a  fear  of  re- 
sponsibility or  timidity,  arising  from  an  entire  misconception  of 
the  wishes  of  the  Government.  No  expense  has  been  spared  at 
home,  and  immense  stores  are  sent  out,  but  they  are  not  forth- 
coming. Some  are  at  Varna,  and  for  some  inexplicable  reason 
they  are  not  brought  down  to  Scutari.  When  stores  are  in  the 
hospital,  they  are  not  issued  without  forms  so  cumbrous  as  to 
make  the  issue  unavailing  through  delay.  The  Purveyor's 
staff  is  said  to  be  insufficient.  The  Commissariat  staff  is  said 
to  be  insufficient,  your  own  staff  is  said  to  be  insufficient,"  etc. 

By  admission,  then,  and  by  official  sentence,  there  were 
things  amiss  at  Scutari  which  urgently  called  for  amend- 
ment. This  is  the  first  general  conclusion  which  has  to  be 
remembered  in  relation  to  Miss  Nightingale's  work. 

To  what  individuals  the  disgrace  of  "  a  disgraceful  state 
of  things  "  attached,  it  is  happily  no  concern  of  ours  here  to 
inquire.  But  as  I  have  called  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  as  a 
witness  to  the  fact  of  the  disgrace,  I  must  add  my  conviction 
that  his  own  part  in  the  business  was  wholly  beneficent. 
Some  research  among  the  documents  entitles  me,  perhaps, 
to  express  entire  agreement  with  Mr.  Kinglake's  remark 
upon  "  what  might  have  been  if  the  Government,  instead  of 
appointing  a  Commission  of  enquiry  on  the  23rd  of  October, 
had  then  delegated  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  to  go  out  for  a 
month  to  the  Bosphorus,  and  there  dictate  immediate  action." 
At  home,  Mr.  Herbert  was  a  good  man  struggling  in  the  toils. 
The  fact  is  that,  though  there  were  some  individuals  palpably 
to  blame,  the  real  fault  was  everybody's  or  nobody's.  It 


was  the  fault  of  a  vicious  system,  or  rather  the  vice  was  that 
there  was  no  system  at  all,  no  co-ordination,  but  only 
division  of  responsibility.  The  remarks  of  Mr.  Herbert, 
just  quoted,  point  to  the  evil,  and  on  every  page  of  the 
Blue-books  it  is  written  large.  There  were  at  least  eight 
authorities,  working  independently  of  each  other,  whose 
co-operation  was  yet  necessary  to  get  anything  well  done. 
There  was  the  Secretary  of  State  ;  there  was  the  War  Office 
(under  the  Secretary-02-War)  ;  there  were  the  Horse  Guards, 
the  Ordnance,  the  Victualling  Office,  the  Transport  Office, 
the  Army  Medical  Department,  and  the  Treasury.  The 
Director-General  of  the  Medical  Department  in  London 
told  the  Roebuck  Committee  that  he  was  under  five  distinct 
masters — the  Commander-in-Chief,  the  Secretary  of  State, 
the  Secretary-at-War,  the  Master-General  of  Ordnance,  and 
the  Board  of  Ordnance.  The  Secretary  of  State  said  that 
he  had  issued  no  instructions  as  to  the  hospitals  ;  he  had 
left  that  to  the  Medical  Board.  But  the  Medical  Director- 
General  said  that  it  would  have  been  impertinent  for  him 
to  take  the  first  step.1  If  I  were  writing  the  history  of  the 
Crimean  War,  or  of  the  Government  Offices,  other  funda- 
mental reasons  for  the  disgraceful  state  of  things  in  the 
hospitals — notably  the  miscalculated  plan  of  military  cam- 
paign— would  have  to  be  taken  into  account ;  but  I  am 
writing  only  the  life  of  Miss  Nightingale,  and  all  that  under 
this  head  the  reader  need  be  asked  to  bear  in  mind  is  this  : 
That  the  root  of  the  evils  which  had  to  be  dealt  with  was 
division  of  responsibility,  and  reluctance  to  assume  it. 

The  third  conclusion  of  the  official  inquiries,  which  I 
want  to  emphasize,  is  contained  in  a  passage  in  the  Roebuck 
Committee's  Report,  which  prefaced  a  reference  to  Miss 
Nightingale's  mission :  "  Your  Committee  in  conclusion 
cannot  but  remark  that  the  first  real  improvements  in  the 
lamentable  condition  of  the  hospitals  at  Scutari  are  to  be 
attributed  to  private  suggestions,  private  exertions,  and 
private  benevolence." 

So,  then,  we  see  that  there  were  disgraceful  evils  at 
Scutari  needing  amendment,  and  that  in  order  to  amend 
them  what  was  needed  was  bold  initiative.  This  it  was  that 

1  Roebuck  Committee,  Fifth  Report,  pp.  17,  19. 


Miss  Nightingale  supplied.  The  popular  voice  thought  of 
her  only  or  mainly  as  the  gentle  nurse.  That,  too,  she  was  ; 
and  to  her  self-devotion  in  applying  a  woman's  insight  to  a 
new  sphere,  a  portion  of  her  fame  must  ever  be  ascribed. 
But  when  men  who  knew  all  the  facts  spoke  of  her  "  com- 
manding genius,"  1  it  was  rather  of  her  work  as  an  adminis- 
trator that  they  were  thinking.  "  They  could  scarcely 
realize  without  personally  seeing  it,"  Mr.  Stafford  told  the 
House  of  Commons,  "  the  heartfelt  gratitude  of  the  soldiers, 
or  the  amount  of  misery  which  had  been  relieved  "  by  Miss 
Nightingale  and  her  nurses ;  and,  he  added,  "  it  was  im- 
possible to  do  justice,  not  only  to  the  kindness  of  heart, 
but  to  the  clever  judgment,  the  ready  intelligence,  and  the 
experience  displayed  by  the  distinguished  lady  to  whom 
this  difficult  mission  had  been  entrusted."  These  were  the 
qualities  which  enabled  her  to  reform,  or  to  be  the  inspirer 
and  instigator  of  reforms  in,  the  British  system  of  military 
hospitals.  She  began  her  work,  where  it  lay  immediately 
to  her  hand,  in  the  Barrack  Hospital  at  Scutari.  She  did 
the  work  in  three  ways.  She  applied  an  expert's  touch  and 
a  woman's  insight  to  a  hospital  hitherto  managed  exclusively 
by  men.  She  boldly  assumed  responsibility,  and  did  things 
herself  which  she  could  find  no  one  else  ready  to  do.  And, 
thirdly,  she  was  instant  and  persistent  in  suggestion,  ex- 
hortation, reproaches,  addressed  to  the  authorities  at  home. 
It  will  not  be  possible  to  keep  these  three  branches  of  our 
subject  entirely  distinct ;  but  in  the  main  they  will  form 
the  topics  successively  of  the  next  three  chapters. 

1  Dean  Stanley,  Memorials  of  Edward  and  Catherine  Stanley,  2nd  ed., 
P-  335-  So,  too,  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert,  in  his  speech  at  Willis's  Rooms  on 
Nov.  29,  1855,  referred  to  her  as  "  a  woman  of  genius." 



Write  that,  when  pride  of  human  skill 

Fell  prostrate  with  the  weight  of  care, 
And  men  pray'd  out  for  some  strong  will, 

Some  reason  'mid  the  wild  despair, — 
The  loving  heart  of  Woman  rose 

To  guide  the  hand  and  clear  the  eye, 
Gave  hope  amid  the  sternest  woes, 

And  saved  what  man  had  left  to  die. 

R.  M.  M.  :   "A  Monument  for  Scutari," 
Times,  Sept.  10,  1855. 

Miss  NIGHTINGALE  arrived  at  Scutari,  as  we  have  seen,  on 
November  4,  and  was  immediately  in  the  midst  of  heavy 
work  in  nursing.  The  Battle  of  Balaclava  was  fought  on 
October  25  ;  and  on  the  day  after  her  arrival,  the  Battle 
of  Inkerman. 

"  Miss  N.  is  decidedly  well  received,"  reported  Mr. 
Bracebridge  to  Mr.  Herbert  (Nov.  8).  A  few  days  later,  the 
Commander  of  the  Forces,  in  a  letter  dated  "  Before  Sevasto- 
pol, Nov.  I3th,  1854,"  bade  her  a  hearty  welcome,  tendering 
to  her  a  "  grateful  acknowledgment  for  thus  charitably 
devoting  yourself  to  those  who  have  suffered  in  the  service 
of  their  country,  regardless  of  the  painful  scenes  you  may 
have  to  witness."  With  some  of  the  military  officers  she 
had  difficulties  ;  from  the  Commander  she  received  nothing 
but  courtesy,  sympathy,  and  support. 

"  Miss  Nightingale  cannot  but  here  recall,"  she  wrote  after 
the  war,  "  with  deep  gratitude  and  respect,  the  letters  of  sup- 
port and  encouragement  which  she  received  from  the  late  Lord 
Raglan,  who  invariably  acknowledged  all  that  was  attempted, 



for  the  good  of  his  men,  with  the  deepest  feeling,  as  well  as  with 
the  high  courtesy  and  true  manliness  of  his  character.  No  tinge 
of  petty  jealousy  against  those  entrusted  with  any  commission, 
public  or  private,  connected  with  the  Army  under  his  command, 
ever  alloyed  his  generous  benevolence."  1 

The  behaviour  of  some  (but  not  all)  of  the  military 
officers,  and  of  the  men  who  caught  their  manners  from  the 
officers,  was  at  first  different.  There  was  sometimes  ill- 
disguised  jealousy,  and  consequent  sulkiness.  Outwardly, 
there  was  politeness  ;  but  difficulties  were  put  into  the  way 
of  "  the  Bird,"  as  some  of  them  called  her  behind  her  back, 
and  she  was  left  to  shift  for  herself,  when  a  little  help  might 
have  eased  the  burden.  "  It  is  the  Bird's  duty,"  they 
would  say.  Miss  Nightingale,  however,  kept  perfect  com- 
mand of  her  temper.  "  She  was  always  calm  and  self- 
possessed,"  says  one  of  the  Roman  Catholic  Sisters  ;  "  she 
was  a  perfect  lady  through  everything — never  overbearing. 
I  never  heard  her  raise  her  voice." 

Upon  most  of  the  medical  men  on  the  spot  she  made  a 
good  impression  at  once,  because  she  proved  herself  to  be 
efficient  and  helpful.  She  applied  the  expert's  touch.  But 
there  were  doctors  and  doctors.  Some  welcomed  her  and 
her  staff,  and  made  as  much  use  of  them  as  possible.  Others 
resented  their  presence,  and  threw  obstacles  in  their  way. 
There  was  one  ward  in  which  the  junior  medical  officers 
had  been  advised  by  their  superior  to  have  as  little  to  do 
with  Miss  Nightingale  as  possible.  She  showed  exemplary 
patience  under  this  kind  of  opposition,  and  gradually  won 
her  way  into  the  confidence  of  most  of  the  doctors.2  "  Miss 
Nightingale  told  us,"  says  one  of  her  staff,  "  only  to  attend 
to  patients  in  the  wards  of  those  surgeons  who  wished  for 
our  services,  and  she  charged  us  never  to  do  anything  for  the 
patients  without  the  leave  of  the  doctors."  3  "  The  number 
of  nurses  admitted  into  each  division  of  a  hospital  depended," 
Miss  Nightingale  herself  explained,  "  upon  the  medical 
officer  of  that  division,  who  sometimes  accepted  them, 
sometimes  refused  them,  sometimes  accepted  them  after 
they  had  been  refused  ;  while  the  duties  they  were  permitted 

1  Statement  to  Subscribers,  p.  vii.  2  See  Pincoffs,  p.  79. 

3  Eastern  Hospitals,  vol.  i.  p.  71. 


to  perform  varied  according  to  the  will  of  each  individual 
medical  officer/' 1  That  this  ill -denned  state  of  things 
called  constantly  for  tact  and  diplomacy  on  the  part  of  the 
Lady  Superintendent,  and  often  for  severe  self-restraint,  will 
readily  be  perceived. 

On  the  first  arrival  of  Miss  Nightingale  and  her  staff,  the 
wounded  were  pouring  in  fast,  and  the  nurses  were  told  off 
to  the  worst  surgical  cases  : — 

"  Comfort  yourselves,"  wrote  Mr.  Bracebridge  to  her  parents 
(Nov.  20),  "  that  what  the  good  Flo  has  done  and  is  doing  is 
priceless,  and  is  felt  to  be  so  by  the  medical  men — the  cleanliness 
of  the  wounds,  which  were  horribly  dirty,  the  general  order  and 
arrangement.  There  has  not  been  half  the  jealousy  I  expected 
from  them  towards  her." 

"As  to  Miss  Nightingale  and  her  companions,"  wrote  Mr. 
Osborne  to  Mr.  Herbert  (Nov.  15),  "  nothing  can  be  said  too 
strong  in  their  praise  ;  she  works  them  wonderfully,  and  they  are 
so  useful  that  I  have  no  hesitation  in  saying  some  20  more  of 
the  same  sort  would  be  a  very  great  blessing  to  the  establishment. 
Her  nerve  is  equal  to  her  good  sense  ;  she,  with  one  of  the  nurses 
and  myself,  gave  efficient  aid  at  an  amputation  of  the  thigh 
yesterday.  She  was  just  as  cool  as  if  she  had  had  to  do  it  herself."  2 

A  letter  from  Miss  Nightingale  herself  to  her  friend  of 
Harley  Street,  Dr.  Bowman,  the  ophthalmic  surgeon,  gives 
a  lively  account  of  some  of  her  difficulties,  and  a  vivid  pic- 
ture of  the  horrors  amid  which  her  work  was  done  (Nov. 

"  /  came  out,  Ma'am,  prepared  to  submit  to  everything,  to  be 
put  upon  in  every  way.  But  there  are  some  things,  Ma'am,  one 
can't  submit  to.  There  is  the  Caps,  Ma'am,  that  suits  one  face, 
and  some  that  suits  another.  And  if  I'd  known,  Ma'am,  about  the 
Caps,  great  as  was  my  desire  to  come  out  to  nurse  at  Scutari,  I 
wouldn't  have  come,  Ma'am." — Speech  of  Mrs.  Lawfield. — Time 
must  be  at  a  discount  with  the  man  who  can  adjust  the  balance 
of  such  an  important  question  as  the  above,  and  I  for  one  have 
none  :  as  you  will  easily  suppose  when  I  tell  you  that  on  Thursday 
last  we  had  1715  sick  and  wounded  in  this  Hospital  (among  whom 
1 20  Cholera  Patients),  and  650  severely  wounded  in  the  other 
Building  called  the  General  Hospital,  of  which  we  also  have 
charge,  when  a  message  came  to  me  to  prepare  for  510  wounded 

1  Notes i  p.  152.  2  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  p.  349. 


on  our  side  of  the  Hospital  who  were  arriving  from  the  dreadful 
affair  of  the  5th  November  from  Balaklava,  in  which  battle  were 
1763  wounded  and  442  killed,  besides  96  officers  wounded  and 
38  killed.  I  always  expected  to  end  my  Days  as  Hospital  Matron, 
but  I  never  expected  to  be  Barrack  Mistress.  We  had  but  half 
an  hour's  notice  before  they  began  landing  the  wounded.  Be- 
tween one  and  9  o'clock  we  had  the  mattresses  stuffed,  sewn 
up,  laid  down — alas  !  only  upon  matting  on  the  floor — the  men 
washed  and  put  to  bed,  and  all  their  wounds  dressed.  I  wish 
I  had  time.  I  would  write  you  a  letter  dear  to  a  surgeon's  heart. 
I  am  as  good  as  a  Medical  Times  \  But  oh  !  you  Gentlemen  of 
England  who  sit  at  Home  in  all  the  well-earned  satisfaction  of 
your  successful  cases,  can  have  little  Idea  from  reading  the 
newspapers  of  the  Horror  and  Misery  (in  a  Military  Hospital)  of 
operating  upon  these  dying,  exhausted  men.  A  London  Hospital 
is  a  Garden  of  Flowers  to  it. 

We  have  had  such  a  Sea  in  the  Bosphorus,  and  the  Turks, 
the  very  men  for  whom  we  are  fighting,  carry  in  our  Wounded 
so  cruelly,  that  they  arrive  in  a  state  of  Agony.  One  amputated 
Stump  died  2  hours  after  we  received  him,  one  compound 
Fracture  just  as  we  were  getting  him  into  Bed — in  all,  twenty-four 
cases  died  on  the  day  of  landing.  The  Dysentery  Cases  have  died 
at  the  rate  of  one  in  two.  Then  the  day  of  operations  which 
follows.  .  .  . 

We  are  very  lucky  in  our  Medical  Heads.  Two  of  them  are 
brutes,  and  four  are  angels — for  this  is  a  work  which  makes  either 
angels  or  devils  of  men  and  of  women  too.  As  for  the  assistants, 
they  are  all  Cubs,  and  will,  while  a  man  is  breathing  his  last 
breath  under  the  knife,  lament  the  "  annoyance  of  being  called 
up  from  their  dinners  by  such  a  fresh  influx  of  wounded  "  ! 
But  unlicked  Cubs  grow  up  into  good  old  Bears,  tho'  I  don't 
know  how ;  for  certain  it  is  the  old  Bears  are  good.  We  have 
now  four  miles  of  Beds,  and  not  eighteen  inches  apart. 

We  have  our  Quarters  in  one  Tower  of  the  Barrack,  and  all 
this  fresh  influx  has  been  laid  down  between  us  and  the  Main 
Guard,  in  two  Corridors,  with  a  line  of  Beds  down  each  side,  just 
room  for  one  person  to  pass  between,  and  four  wards.  Yet  in 
the  midst  of  this  appalling  Horror  (we  are  steeped  up  to  our  necks 
in  blood)  there  is  good,  and  I  can  truly  say,  like  St.  Peter,  "It  is 
good  for  us  to  be  here  " — though  I  doubt  whether  if  St.  Peter 
had  been  here,  he  would  have  said  so.  As  I  went  my  night- 
rounds  among  the  newly  wounded  that  first  night,  there  was 
not  one  murmur,  not  one  groan,  the  strictest  discipline — the 
most  absolute  silence  and  quiet  prevailed — only  the  steps  of  the 
Sentry — and  I  heard  one  man  say,  "  I  was  dreaming  of  my  friends 
at  Home,"  and  another  said,  "  I  was  thinking  of  them."  These 

CH.IV      THE  SURGEONS  AND  THEIR  WORK         185 

poor  fellows  bear  pain  and  mutilation  with  an  unshrinking  heroism 
which  is  really  superhuman,  and  die,  or  are  cut  up  without  a 

The  wounded  are  now  lying  up  to  our  very  door,  and  we  are 
landing  540  more  from  the  Andes.  I  take  rank  in  the  Army  as 
Brigadier  General,  because  40  British  females,  whom  I  have  with 
me,  are  more  difficult  to  manage  than  4000  men.  Let  no  lady 
come  out  here  who  is  not  used  to  fatigue  and  privation.  .  .  . 
Every  ten  minutes  an  Orderly  runs,  and  we  have  to  go  and  cram 
lint  into  the  wound  till  a  Surgeon  can  be  sent  for,  and  stop  the 
Bleeding  as  well  as  we  can.  In  all  our  corridor,  I  think  we  have 
not  an  average  of  three  Limbs  per  man.  And  there  are  two  Ships 
more  "loading"  at  the  Crimea  with  wounded — (this  is  our 
Phraseology).  Then  come  the  operations,  and  a  melancholy, 
not  an  encouraging  List  is  this.  They  are  all  performed  in  the 
wards — no  time  to  move  them ;  one  poor  fellow  exhausted  with 
haemorrhage,  has  his  leg  amputated  as  a  last  hope,  and  dies  ten 
minutes  after  the  Surgeon  has  left  him.  Almost  before  the  breath 
has  left  his  body  it  is  sewn  up  in  its  blanket,  and  carried  away 
and  buried  the  same  day.  We  have  no  room  for  Corpses  in  the 
Wards.  The  Surgeons  pass  on  to  the  next,  an  excision  of  the 
shoulder- joint,  beautifully  performed  and  going  on  well.  Ball 
lodged  just  in  the  head  of  the  joint  and  fracture  starred  all  round. 
The  next  poor  fellow  has  two  Stumps  for  arms,  and  the  next  has 
lost  an  arm  and  a  leg.  As  for  the  Balls  they  go  in  where  they  like 
and  come  out  where  they  like  and  do  as  much  harm  as  they  can 
in  passing.  That  is  the  only  rule  they  have.  .  .  . 

I  am  getting  a  Screen  now  for  the  amputations,  for  when  one 
poor  fellow,  who  is  to  be  amputated  to-morrow  sees  his  comrade 
to-day  die  under  the  knife,  it  makes  impression  and  diminishes 
his  chance.  But,  anyway,  among  these  exhausted  Frames,  the 
mortality  of  the  operations  is  frightful.  We  have  Erysipelas, 
fever  and  gangrene,  and  the  Russian  wounded  are  the  worst. 

We  are  getting  on  nicely  though  in  many  ways.  They  were 
so  glad  to  see  us.  The  Senior  Chaplain  is  a  sensible  man,  which 
is  a  remarkable  Providence.  ...  If  you  ever  see  Mr.  Whitfield, 
the  House  Apothecary  of  St.  Thomas',  will  you  tell  him  that  the 
nurse  he  sent  me,  Mrs.  Roberts,  is  worth  her  weight  in  gold.  .  .  . 
Mrs.  Drake  is  a  Treasure.  The  four  others  are  not  fit  to  take  care 
of  themselves,  but  they  may  do  better  by  and  bye  if  I  can  convince 
them  of  the  absolute  necessity  of  discipline.  We  hear  there  was 
another  engagement  on  the  8th  and  more  wounded,  who  are 
coming  down  to  us.  This  is  only  the  beginning  of  things. 

The  Senior  Chaplain  had  the  sense,  among  other  things, 
to  appreciate  Miss  Nightingale.  "  The  Chaplain  says/' 


wrote  Mr.  Nightingale  to  a  friend  (Dec.  12),  "  '  Miss 
Nightingale  is  an  admirable  person  ;  none  of  us  can  suf- 
ficiently admire  her.  A  perfect  lady,  she  wins  and  rules 
every  one,  the  most  rugged  official  melts  before  her  gentle 
voice,  and  all  seem  glad  to  do  her  bidding/  ' 

Florence  Nightingale  had  that  "  excellent  thing  in 
woman  "  :  Lady  Lovelace,  in  the  poem  already  quoted,  spoke 
of  her  friend's  "  soft,  silvery  voice  "  ;  but  it  could  com- 
mand, as  well  as  charm,  unless  indeed  it  were  the  charm 
that  commanded.  "  She  scolds  sergeants  and  orderlies 
all  day  long,"  wrote  Mr.  Bracebridge  to  her  parents 
(Nov.  20)  ;  "  you  would  be  astonished  to  see  how  fierce 
she  is  grown."  That  was  written,  of  course,  in  fun  ;  but 
there  was  always  a  note  of  calm  authority  in  her  voice. 
A  Crimean  veteran  recalled  her  passing  his  bed  with 
some  doctors,  who  were  saying,  "  It  can't  be  done," 
and  her  replying  quietly,  "  It  must  be  done."  "  I  seem 
to  hear  her  saying  it,"  writes  one  who  knew  her  well ; 
"  there  seemed  to  be  no  appeal  from  her  quiet  conclusive 

With  regard  to  the  nurses,  Miss  Nightingale,  as  may  be 
gathered  from  the  letter  to  Dr.  Bowman,  found  them  rather 
a  difficult  team  to  drive,  and  this  fact  should  be  remembered 
in  considering  an  episode  presently  to  be  related  (II.).  She 
had  to  send  one  nurse  back  to  England  at  once,  filling  the 
vacancy  by  a  German  Sister  from  the  Kaiserswerth  colony 
at  Constantinople.  Of  the  six  nurses  supplied  by  St.  John's 
House,  "  four,  alas  !  returned  shortly  from  Scutari,  not  being 
prepared  to  accept  the  discipline  and  privations  of  the  life 
out  there."  1  We  need  not  be  too  impatient  with  Mrs. 
Lawfield  (who  turned  out  an  excellent  nurse)  for  her  objec- 
tion to  the  cap.  The  uniform,  devised  on  the  spur  of  the 
moment,  seems  to  have  been  very  much  less  becoming  than 
that  of  the  "  Staff  Nurse,  New  Style,"  with  her  "  gown  of 
silver  gray,  bright  steel  chain,  and  chignon's  elegant  array."  2 
The  Nightingale  nurses  in  the  East  wore  "  grey  tweed 
wrappers,  worsted  jackets,  with  caps  and  short  woollen 
cloaks,  and  a  frightful  scarf  of  brown  holland,  embroidered 

1  St.  John's  House  :  a  Record,  p.  8. 
*  W.  E.  Henley,  In  Hospital. 


in  red  with  the  words,  '  Scutari  Hospital.'  "  l    Such  is  the 
description  of  the  costume  worn  by  the  seculars  which  is 
given  by  one  of  the  Roman  Catholic  Sisters,  not  without 
some  pity  as  she  thought  of  her  own  religious  habit.     But 
the  short  cloak  should  not  be  so  contemptuously  dismissed. 
"  The  red  uniform  cape  worn  by  the  ladies  of  the  Queen 
Alexandra's  Imperial  Military  Nursing  Service  is  modelled 
on  that  originally  introduced  by  Florence  Nightingale  for 
the  nurses  whom  she  took  with  her  to  Scutari.     This  cape 
may  therefore   be  regarded  as  a  memorial   to   the   great 
founder    of    military    nursing." 2     As    for    the    "  frightful 
scarf  "  some  such  distinctive  badge  was  a  very  necessary 
precaution    amid    the    rough-and-tumble    of    a    military 
depot  and  its  camp-followers.     A  raw  new-comer  was  seen 
to  approach  one  of  the  nurses  in  the  street.     "  You  leave 
her   alone,"  said   his  mate,  "  don't   you  see  she's  one  of 
Miss  Nightingale's  women  ?  "     Their  cloth  was  respected 
throughout  the  camps  ;  but  Miss  Nightingale  had  to  dismiss 
two  or  three  for  levity  of  conduct.     On  arriving  at  Scutari, 
she  had  placed  ten  in  the  General  Hospital  and  twenty-eight 
in  the  Barrack  Hospital,  and  in  neither  did  she  find  it  easy 
to  maintain  discipline.     From  time  to  time  she  transferred 
nurses,  sending  the  best  to  other  hospitals,  keeping  the  less 
trustworthy  under  her  own  eye  ;    and  sending  some  home, 
who  were  unwilling  to  stay  or  found  incompetent,  as  other 
recruits  arrived.     Of  the  thirty-eight  in  the  first  party,  she 
considered  that  not  more  than  sixteen  were  really  efficient, 
whilst  five  or  six  were  in  a  class  of  excellence  by  themselves. 
The  difficulties — including  the  great  Dress  Question— 
which  Miss  Nightingale  had  with  her  staff,  appear  clearly 
enough  in   the   "  Rules   and   Regulations   for  the   Nurses 
attached  to  the  Military  Hospitals  in  the  East,"  which  Miss 
Nightingale  presently  sent  home  to  Mr.  Herbert,  who  had 
them  printed,  and  handed  to  every  candidate  for  appoint- 
ment as  nurse.     "  As  it  has  been  stated,"  says  the  preamble, 
"  that  the  nurses  who  have  gone  to  the  hospitals  in  the  East, 

1  Memories  of  the  Crimea,  by  Sister  Mary  Aloysius,  p.  17    The  "  fright- 
ful scarf  "  was  a  plain  band  worn,  I  suppose,  over  one  arm  and  under 
the  other. 

2  Journal  of  the  Royal  Army  Medical  Corps  (Bibliography  B,  No.  52), 
P.  393- 


have  in  some  instances  complained  of  being  subject  to  hard- 
ships and  to  rules  for  which  they  were  not  previously  pre- 
pared, and  of  having  to  do  work  differing  from  what  they 
expected,  it  has  been  thought  desirable  to  state  distinctly 
the  regulations  relative  to  the  outfit,  clothing,  duties,  and 
position  of  nurses  in  military  hospitals."  The  nurses,  it 
is  then  set  forth,  "  are  required  to  appear  at  all  times  in  the 
regulation  dress  with  the  badge,  and  never  to  wear  flowers 
in  their  bonnet-caps,  or  ribbons,  other  than  such  as  are 
provided  for  them,  or  are  sanctioned  by  the  superintendent." 
Another  rule  defines  the  precise  quantities  of  spirituous 
liquor  which  a  nurse  will  be  allowed ;  a  third  states  that 
"  no  nurse  will  be  allowed  to  walk  out  except  with  the 
housekeeper,  or  with  a  party  of  at  least  three  nurses  together, 
and  never  without  leave  previously  obtained."  The  whole 
code  shows  the  necessity  which  Miss  Nightingale  had  found 
for  enforcing  strict  discipline.1  And  even  with  these  new 
regulations  to  back  her,  she  still  found  discipline  hard  to 
enforce.  Her  official  letters  to  the  War  Office  complain  of 
unsuitable  recruits  being  sent  out  to  her,  and  of  the  greater 
number  of  them  as  being  "  wholly  undisciplined." 


In  December  1854  Miss  Nightingale  was  astonished  to 
receive  an  announcement  that  a  party  of  forty-seven  more 
nurses,  under  the  care  of  her  friend,  Miss  Mary  Stanley, 
were  on  their  way  to  join  her.  She  remonstrated,  and 
threatened  to  resign  : — 

"  You  have  sacrificed  the  cause  so  near  my  heart/'  she  wrote 
to  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  (Dec.  15)  ;  "  you  have  sacrificed  me,  a 
matter  of  small  importance  now ;  you  have  sacrificed  your  own 
written  word  to  a  popular  cry.  You  must  feel  that  I  ought  to 
resign,  where  conditions  are  imposed  upon  me  which  render  the 
object  for  which  I  am  employed  unattainable,  and  I  only  remain 
at  my  post  till  I  have  provided  in  some  measure  for  these  poor 

1  The  manuscript  of  this  document  is  preserved  among  the  archives 
of  the  War  Office.  The  text  of  these,  "  the  earliest  rules  denning  the 
position  and  duties  of  a  female  nurse  in  any  military  hospital,"  has  been 
printed  elsewhere  (Bibliography  B,  No.  52). 


Mr.  Herbert  replied,  as  his  biographer  states,  in  terms 
of  courtesy  and  kindliness,  and  without  any  trace  of  the 
bitterness  which  Miss  Nightingale's  vehemence  might  have 
evoked  in  a  smaller-minded  man.  There  is  a  letter  to  Mrs. 
Bracebridge  (Dec.  27)  in  which  Mrs.  Herbert  says  :  "I  am 
heart-broken  about  the  nurses,  but  I  do  assure  you,  if  you 
send  them  all  home  without  a  trial,  you  will  lose  some  really 
valuable  women."  The  Minister  had  authorized  Miss 
Nightingale,  if  on  full  consideration  she  thought  fit,  to 
return  Miss  Stanley's  party  to  England  at  his  own  private 
expense.  Her  good  sense  soon  showed  her  that  such  a 
course  would  be,  as  she  wrote,  "  a  moral  impossibility  "  ; 
and  in  the  end  she  made  the  best  she  could  of  what  she  con- 
sidered a  bad  job — to  the  great  advantage,  as  it  was  to  turn 
out,  of  the  wounded  soldiers,  though  at  a  great  increase 
to  her  own  responsibilities  and  difficulties. 

Much  has  been  made  in  some  quarters  1  of  this  episode, 
and  it  may  be  well  here  to  explain  Miss  Nightingale's  position 
clearly  ;  for  the  affair  throws  strong  light  upon  the  diffi- 
culties of  her  task.  It  is  essential  to  know,  in  the  first  place, 
that  Mr.  Herbert  had  distinctly  stated  that  the  selection  of 
nurses  was  to  be  exclusively  in  Miss  Nightingale's  hands. 
This  is  implied  in  his  official  instructions  (p.  156),  and  was 
stated  with  the  utmost  emphasis  in  a  letter  "  to  a  corre- 
spondent," which  he  had  caused  to  be  inserted  in  the  news- 
papers of  October  24.  Already  the  cry  had  been  raised  that 
more  nurses  should  be  sent,  and  volunteers  were  clamouring 
for  enlistment.  Mr.  Herbert  thereupon  wrote  : — 

WAR  OFFICE,  October  21  [1854].  .  .  .  The  duties  of  a  hospital 
nurse,  if  they  are  properly  performed,  require  great  skill  as  well 
as  strength  and  courage,  especially  where  the  cases  are  surgical 
cases  and  the  majority  of  them  are  from  gunshot  wounds.  Persons 
who  have  no  experience  or  skill  in  such  matters  would  be  of  no 
use  whatever ;  and  in  moments  of  great  pressure,  such  as  must 
of  necessity  at  intervals  occur  in  a  military  hospital,  any  person 
who  is  not  of  use  is  an  impediment.  Many  ladies,  whose  generous 
enthusiasm  prompts  them  to  offer  their  services  as  nurses,  are 
little  aware  of  the  hardships  they  would  have  to  encounter,  and 

1  Especially  by  Lord  Stanmore  in  his  Memoir  of  Sidney  Herbert.  He 
handles  it,  I  think,  with  some  needless  asperity,  and  he  might  have  men- 
tioned Mr.  Herbert's  letter  which  is  here  quoted. 


the  horrors  they  would  have  to  witness,  which  would  try  the 
firmest  nerves.  Were  all  accepted  who  offer,  I  fear  we  should 
have  not  only  many  inefficient  nurses,  but  many  hysterical 
patients  themselves  requiring  treatment  instead  of  assisting 
others.  .  .  . 

No  additional  nurses  will  be  sent  out  to  Miss  Nightingale 
until  she  shall  have  written  home  from  Scutari  and  reported 
how  far  her  labours  have  been  successful,  and  what  number  and 
description  of  persons,  if  any,  she  requires  in  addition.  ...  No 
one  can  be  sent  out  until  we  hear  from  Miss  Nightingale  that  they 
are  required. 

Miss  Nightingale  had  not  written  home  in  that  sense 
at  all,  but  Mr.  Herbert  had  sent  the  nurses.  That  was  what 
she  meant  when  she  said  that  he  had  "  sacrificed  his  own 
written  word."  "  Had  I  had  the  enormous  folly,"  she 
wrote  to  Mr.  Herbert  (Dec.  15),  "  at  the  end  of  eleven  days' 
experience,  to  require  more  women,  would  it  not  seem  that 
you,  as  a  statesman,  should  have  said,  '  Wait  till  you  can 
see  your  way  better.'  But  I  made  no  such  request."  She 
was  an  expert,  and  did  not  wish  to  be  inundated  with  ama- 
teurs. Moreover,  everybody  at  Scutari  knew,  as  she  wrote, 
the  terms  of  Mr.  Herbert's  letter  to  the  newspapers,  and  the 
medical  men  knew  that  she  had  not  asked  for  any  more 
nurses.  Yet  here  was  a  new  party  sent  out ;  and,  to  make 
the  encroachment  on  her  domain  the  more  marked,  Miss 
Stanley  had  received  instructions  to,  and  reported  herself 
to,  not  the  Superintendent  of  the  Nurses,  but  other  officials. 
Miss  Nightingale  felt  that  her  authority  had  been  flouted, 
her  position  undermined.  But  personal  considerations  were 
not  the  cause  of  her  vexation.  It  was  not  a  case  of  "pique," 
as  some  people  in  England  imagined.  Mr.  Herbert  and  she 
were  engaged  in  making  a  new  experiment.  It  was  full  of 
difficulties,  and  the  only  chance  of  success  lay  in  the  main- 
tenance of  undivided  responsibility  and  clearly  established 
authority.  Miss  Nightingale  could  not  quietly  have  accepted 
the  new  situation  without  sacrificing  the  key  of  the  position. 
Had  she  acquiesced,  she  would  have  admitted  that  Mr. 
Herbert  might  henceforth  send  out  nurses  without  consulting 
her,  and  without  placing  them  expressly  under  her  orders. 
She  would  have  left  herself  at  the  mercy  of  any  well-meaning 
person  in  England  who  thought  that  this  or  that  might  be 


helpful  to  her.  Her  judgment  would  no  longer  have  been 
the  governing  factor  ;  while  yet  for  any  confusion  or  failure 
that  might  follow,  she  would  be  held  responsible.  Mr. 
Herbert  thought,  no  doubt,  that  already  the  experiment 
had  been  a  great  success,  as  indeed  it  was,  and  he  was 
eager  to  increase  the  scale  of  it.  He  might  not  un- 
reasonably think  that,  as  the  number  of  the  wounded  in- 
creased, so  should  the  number  of  female  nurses  be  increased 
also.  Mr.  Osborne's  remark,  cited  above  (p.  183),  must 
have  confirmed  him  in  such  an  opinion.  But  to  Miss 
Nightingale  on  the  spot  the  case  wore  a  very  different 
aspect.  We  must  remember  the  severe  mental  strain  of 
her  position  ;  the  high  pressure  of  work  and  emotion  at 
which  she  was  living,  all  the  higher  to  one  of  her  intensely 
sensitive  conscientiousness  ;  the  continual  failure  (to  her 
critical  mind)  of  attempts  to  reform  cruel  abuses ;  the 
danger  of  real,  acknowledged  failure  always  present.  In 
such  a  position,  the  arrival  of  a  fresh  batch  of  nurses,  un- 
expected and  unsolicited,  must  have  seemed  to  her  the 
break-up  of  all  her  plans,  the  destruction  of  the  standard 
of  nursing  which  she  was  painfully  creating,  the  gravest 
peril  to  an  experiment,  still  on  its  trial,  and  ever  subject  to 
hostile  criticism. 

Immediate  and  practical  difficulties  were  also  great. 
There  was  no  accommodation  in  the  hospitals  at  Scutari 
available  for  additional  female  nurses.  "  The  46,"  wrote 
Mr.  Bracebridge  to  Mr.  Smith  (Dec.  18),  "  have  fallen  on 
us  like  a  cloud  of  locusts.  Where  to  house  them,  feed 
them,  place  them,  is  difficult ;  how  to  care  for  them,  not 
to  be  imagined."  The  Principal  Medical  Officer  flatly 
refused  to  have  any  more,  and  Miss  Nightingale  herself 
felt  that  she  could  not  manage  any  more  : — 

"  I  have  toiled  my  way,"  she  wrote  (Dec.  15),  "  into  the 
confidence  of  the  Medical  Men.  I  have,  by  incessant  vigilance, 
day  and  night,  introduced  something  like  system  into  the  dis- 
orderly operations  of  these  women.  And  the  plan  may  be  said 
to  have  succeeded  in  some  measure,  as  it  stands.  .  .  .  But  to 
have  women  scampering  about  the  wards  of  a  Military  Hospital 
all  day  long,  which  they  would  do,  did  an  increased  number 
relax  the  discipline  and  increase  their  leisure,  would  be  as  im- 
proper as  absurd." 


And  there  was  a  further  objection.  A  considerable 
number  of  the  second  party  were  Roman  Catholics,  and  Miss 
Stanley  herself  (as  Miss  Nightingale  well  knew)  was  on  the 
verge  of  joining  the  Roman  Communion.  How  much  this 
factor  in  the  case  added  to  the  force  of  Miss  Nightingale's 
objections,  we  shall  learn  in  a  later  chapter.  Mr.  Herbert 
thought,  I  suppose,  that  the  additional  nurses  would  be 
welcome  to  her  because  they  came  under  the  escort  of  a 
friend.  But  so  strongly  did  Miss  Nightingale  feel  on  the 
subject,  that  Miss  Stanley's  part  in  the  affair  rankled  the 
more.  It  was  in  the  house  of  her  friends,  she  felt,  that 
she  had  been  wounded.  Their  personal  relations  were 
further  embittered  by  the  case  of  a  nurse  whom  Miss 
Nightingale  (with  the  concurrence  of  the  other  authorities) 
felt  obliged  to  dismiss,  but  whom  Miss  Stanley  believed  to  be 
ill-used.  Miss  Nightingale's  friendship  with  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Herbert  was  in  no  way  impaired.  They  had  confessed 
themselves  in  the  wrong  ;  and  so  she  was  deeply  touched,  as 
she  wrote,  by  their  kindness  and  generosity.  But  between 
her  and  Miss  Stanley  the  breach  was  never  healed.  Their 
later  lives  took  different  directions,  and  they  did  not  meet 

Miss  Nightingale's  resentment  was  perfectly  justified. 
Her  remonstrances  to  Mr.  Herbert  were  necessary.  His 
well-intentioned  action  was  calculated  to  undermine  her 
authority,  and  to  aggravate  her  difficulties  ;  and,  in  both 
of  these  ways,  to  imperil  the  success  of  their  joint  experiment. 
Her  handling  of  the  crisis  which  had  burst  upon  her  was, 
perhaps,  in  relation  to  the  subordinates  unfortunate.  Miss 
Stanley  was  accompanied  by  Dr.  Meyer,  a  medical  man, 
and  Mr.  Jocelyne  Percy,  who  had  gone  out  (as  Mrs.  Herbert 
wrote  to  Mrs.  Bracebridge)  devoted  to  Miss  Nightingale, 
"  saying  he  would  be  her  footman,  etc."  l  "  We  picked 
out,"  added  Mrs.  Herbert  plaintively,  "  the  two  men  in 
England  who,  we  thought,  would  help  Flo  most,"  and  they 
returned  sad  and  sore  at  their  cold  reception.  Miss  Nightin- 
gale, acting  on  advice  she  received  on  the  spot,  asked  them 
to  sign  notes  of  their  conversation  with  her ; 2  this  rankled 

1  See  below,  p.  241. 
2  It  was  Mr.  Bracebridge  who  took  the  notes  of  the  interview. 


with  them,  and  Mr.  Percy  made  a  grievance  of  it  in  England. 
Mrs.  Herbert,  in  reporting  all  this  to  Mrs.  Bracebridge 
(Jan.  7,  1855),  made  the  final  reflection  :  "  Perhaps  it  is 
wholesome  for  us  to  be  reminded  that  Flo  is  still  a  mortal, 
which  we  were  beginning  to  doubt."  Mortals  have  to  deal 
with  entanglements  as  best  they  may  on  the  spur  of  the 
moment ;  and  those  at  a  distance  hardly  made  enough 
allowance  for  the  difficulties  with  which  Miss  Nightingale 
was  suddenly  confronted,  for  the  danger  which  Mr.  Herbert's 
dispatch  of  unsolicited  reinforcements  involved,  and,  there- 
fore, for  the  importance  which  she  attached  to  having  all 
the  conditions  defined  in  black  and  white. 

Her  practical  genius  and  good  sense  speedily  triumphed, 
however,  over  the  difficulties  of  the  case.  In  agreement 
with  the  medical  authorities,  the  number  of  female  nurses 
at  Scutari  was  raised  to  50,  and  Miss  Nightingale  weeded 
out  some  of  her  original  staff  in  favour  of  new-comers. 
Others  of  them  were  sent  to  the  hospitals  at  Balaclava 
(p.  254)  ;  and  others  to  those  at  Koulali  (p.  174).  Miss 
Stanley,  whose  intention  it  had  been  to  return  to  England 
as  soon  as  she  had  deposited  her  party,  remained  for  several 
months  in  charge  at  the  latter  place,  not  administering  the 
nursing  service  altogether  according  to  Miss  Nightingale's 
ideas,1  but  rendering  aid  to  the  afflicted  of  which  her  brother, 
the  Dean,  has  left  us  so  charming  and  sympathetic  a 

In  the  end,  then,  the  scope  of  Miss  Nightingale's  experi- 
ment was  considerably  enlarged  ;  and  the  deeper  significance 
of  the  episode  is  to  be  found  in  the  emphasis  which  it  throws 
upon  the  novelty  and  difficulties  of  Miss  Nightingale's 
enterprise.  In  these  days,  nurses,  trained  and  distinctively 
attired,  are  so  much  part  of  everyday  life,  women-nurses 
serving  under  the  Red  Cross  are  so  normal  a  feature  of  war, 
and  Territorial  nurses,  smartly  uniformed,  are  so  familiar  a 
unit  of  auxiliary  forces,  that  some  effort  of  imagination  is 
required  to  realize  the  conditions  which  existed  sixty  years 

1  Miss  Nightingale  made  some  criticisms  in  an  official  letter  to  the  War 
Office,  May  i,  1855  ;   printed  at  pp.  389,  390  of  the  pamphlet  No.  52  in 
Bibliography  B.     And  in  another  letter  (March  5)  she  begged  Lord  Pan- 
mure  to  relieve  her  of  responsibility  for  the  hospitals  at  Koulali. 

2  In  an  appendix  to  the  second  edition  (1880)  of  his  Memorials  of  Edward 
and  Catherine  Stanley. 

VOL.  I  O 


ago.  We  remember  that  a  staff  of  nearly  800  female  nurses 
was  maintained  for  service  in  the  South  African  War,  and 
may  be  tempted  to  smile  at  the  question  between  20  and  40, 
or  40  and  90  for  the  Crimea.  But  it  was  Miss  Nightingale 
who  showed  the  way,  and  the  way  of  the  pioneer  is  rough. 
No  one  who  reads  this  volume  will  suspect  her  of  timidity,  or 
think  her  wanting  in  self-confidence  ;  yet  so  conscious  was 
she  of  the  difficulties  that  in  this  instance  she  under-rated 
her  power,  and  was  anxious  to  keep  the  experiment  within 
much  narrower  limits  than  it  assumed.  Her  original  idea 
had  been  to  limit  the  number  of  female  nurses  to  20,  but  at 
various  dates  after  Miss  Stanley's  arrival  she  sent  home  for 
more  nurses,  and,  before  the  war  was  over,  she  had  had 
control  of  125. 


Miss  Nightingale's  reluctance  to  assume  the  superintend- 
ence of  additional  nurses  will  be  the  more  readily  understood 
when  we  pass  to  the  multifarious  duties  which  circumstances 
led  her  to  discharge. 

"  Having  understood,"  she  wrote  to  Lord  Stratford  de 
Redcliffe  (Nov.  7),  "  that  Your  Excellency  has  the  power  of 
drawing  upon  Government  for  the  uses  of  the  sick  and  wounded, 
I  beg  to  state  that  there  is  at  present  a  great  deficiency  of  linen 
among  the  men  in  the  Hospitals  until  the  Government  Stores 
can  arrive  and  be  appropriated  to  them.  A  hundred  pairs  of 
sheets  and  200  shirts  might  be  applied  to  such  a  temporary 
purpose,  and  would  never  be  de  trop.  Also  a  few  American 
stoves,  upon  which  we  might  prepare  delicate  food  for  the  worst 
cases,  who  require  to  be  fed  every  two  or  three  hours,  which  is 
of  course  impossible  for  the  Medical  Officers  and  Orderlies  to 
attend  to  ;  many  deaths  are  necessarily  the  consequence." 

This  suggestion  to  the  Ambassador,  made  on  the  third 
day  after  Miss  Nightingale's  arrival,  serves  to  introduce  two 
main  directions  in  which  she  applied  a  woman's  insight  to 
the  condition  of  things  at  Scutari.  Efficient  nursing  re- 
quires, she  well  knew,  cleanliness  and  delicately  cooked  food. 
She  set  herself  with  characteristic  energy  to  supply  these 
necessities.  She  found  "  not  a  basin,  nor  a  towel,  nor  a  bit 
of  soap,  nor  a  broom,"  and  instantly  requisitioned  300 


scrubbing  brushes.  '  The  first  improvements  took  place," 
said  Mr.  Macdonald,  "  after  Miss  Nightingale's  arrival- 
greater  cleanliness  and  greater  order.  I  recollect  one  of  the 
first  things  she  asked  me  to  supply  was  200  hard  scrubbers 
and  sacking  for  washing  the  floors,  for  which  no  means 
existed  at  that  time."  l  Miss  Nightingale  had  foreseen  that 
washing  would  be  one  of  the  first  things  necessary.  During 
the  voyage  out,  as  the  ship  was  approaching  Constantinople, 
one  of  the  party  went  up  to  her  and  said  earnestly,  "  Oh, 
Miss  Nightingale,  when  we  land,  don't  let  there  be  any  red- 
tape  delays,  let  us  get  straight  to  nursing  the  poor  fellows  !  " 
r<  The  strongest  will  be  wanted  at  the  wash-tub,"  was  the 
reply.  Until  Miss  Nightingale  arrived,  the  number  of  shirts 
washed  during  a  month  was  six.2  Up  to  the  date  of  her 
arrival,  the  Purveyor-General  had  contracted  for  the  washing 
of  the  hospital  bedding,  and  of  the  linen  of  the  patients. 
Simultaneously,  however,  with  the  arrival  of  the  wounded 
from  Inkerman,  it  was  found  that  the  contractor  had  broken 
down  in  the  latter  part  of  his  contract.  And  even  with 
regard  to  the  former  part,  the  bedding  was  washed,  Miss 
Nightingale  discovered,  in  cold  water.  She  insisted  upon 
hot ;  the  more  since  it  was  found,  as  the  Duke  of  Newcastle's 
commissioners  reported,  that  many  of  the  articles  sent  back 
from  the  wash  as  clean,  had  to  be  destroyed  as  being  in  fact 
verminous.  Miss  Nightingale  accordingly  took  a  Turkish 
house,  had  boilers  supplied  in  it  by  the  Engineer's  Office, 
employed  soldiers'  wives  to  do  the  washing,  and  thus  gave 
the  sick  and  wounded  the  comfort  of  clean  linen.  All  this 
was  paid  for  partly  out  of  her  private  funds  and  partly  by 
the  Times  fund. 

Yet  more  important,  perhaps,  to  the  comfort  and 
recovery  of  the  sick,  were  Miss  Nightingale's  "  Extra  Diet 
Kitchens."  When  she  came  to  the  Barrack  Hospital  she 
found  that  all  the  cooking  was  done  in  thirteen  large  coppers, 
situated  at  one  end  of  the  vast  building.  The  patients'  beds 
extended  over  a  space  of  from  three  to  four  miles  (including, 

1  Roebuck  Committee,  Q.  6140. 

2  This  fact,  reported  by  the  Roebuck  Committee,  barbed  one  of  Mr. 
Kinglake's  sarcasms  against  the  males  (vi.  427  n.).     It  also  greatly  im- 
pressed John  Bright.     See  Mr.  G.  M.  Trevelyan's  Life  of  him,  1913,  p. 


of  course,  both  wards  and  corridors)  ;  it  took  three  or  four 
hours  to  serve  the  ordinary  dinners,  and  there  were  no 
facilities  whatever  for  preparing  delicacies  between  times. 
Within  ten  days  of  her  arrival,  Miss  Nightingale  had  remedied 
this  defect.  She  opened  two  "  extra  diet  kitchens  "  in 
different  parts  of  the  building,  and  had  three  supplementary 
boilers  fixed  on  one  of  the  staircases  for  the  preparation  of 
arrowroot  and  the  like.  As  explained  more  fully  below 
(p.  201),  nothing  was  supplied  except  in  accordance  with 
medical  directions  ;  and  she  met  the  doctors'  requisitions 
out  of  her  private  stores  only  when  the  government  stores 
failed.  "  It  is  obvious/'  she  explained,  "  that  Miss  Nightin- 
gale would  have  shielded  herself  from  heavy  responsibility 
by  adhering,  and  by  obtaining  the  adherence  of  the  medical 
officers,  to  the  strict  precedents  of  Military  Hospital  Regula- 
tions, according  to  which  the  materials  for  the  Extra  Diets 
would  have  been  sent  in  to  her  by  the  purveyor  without 
requisition,  in  the  same  manner  as  is  practised  in  the  case 
of  the  ordinary  diets  ;  but  she  felt  that  in  doing  so  she  would 
most  frequently  be  defeating  the  object  she  was  sent  to  carry 
out,  for  in  the  majority  of  cases  the  purveyor  had  either  no 
supply,  or  a  supply  of  a  very  indifferent  quality  of  the 
articles  required."  x  It  is  safe  to  say  that  many  lives  were 
saved  by  the  application  by  Miss  Nightingale  of  the  good 
housewife's  care  to  the  kitchen  of  the  hospitals.  The 
woman's  eye  was  not  above  distinguishing  between  bone 
and  gristle  and  meat  in  the  men's  dinner,  and  she  wanted 
to  have  the  meat  issued  from  the  stores  boned,  so  that  one 
patient  should  not  get  all  bone,  another  all  gristle,  and 
another  all  meat.  But  on  this  point  she  was  beaten.  The 
Inspector-General  informed  her  that  it  would  require  a  new 
"  Regulation  of  the  Service  "  to  "  bone  the  meat  "  !  !  The 
notes  of  exclamation  are  hers.2  In  the  culinary  department 
an  invaluable  volunteer  arrived  in  1855  in  the  person  of 
Alexis  Soyer,  once  famous  as  the  chef  of  the  Reform  Club, 
and  still  alive  as  M.  Mirobolant  in  Thackeray's  Pendennis. 
M.  Soyer  rearranged  and  partly  superseded  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's kitchens  at  Scutari.  We  shall  meet  with  him  and  his 
good  work  again  when  we  accompany  her  to  the  Crimea. 

1  Statement,  p.  26  n.  2  Letter  to  Mr.  Herbert,  Feb.  5,  1855. 


Miss  Nightingale  was  not  long  at  Scutari  without  being 
touched  by  the  pitiable  condition  of  the  women  camp- 
followers,  separated  often  from  their  regiments,  and  in  a  very 
forlorn  state.  Miss  Nightingale  deputed  the  care  of  them  in 
large  measure  to  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  who,  with  her  husband, 
collected  and  administered  a  separate  fund  for  giving 
assistance  to  the  wives,  women,  and  children  of  soldiers  at 
Scutari.  A  Lying-in  Hospital  was  organized ;  and  Miss 
Nightingale  found  employment  for  many  of  the  women,  both 
in  washing  as  aforesaid,  and  in  making  up  old  linen  into 
various  hospital  requisites.  Here,  too,  helpful  volunteers 
presently  arrived.  The  Rev.  Dr.  and  Lady  Alicia  Blackwood 
were  moved  after  the  Battle  of  Inkerman  to  go  out  to  Scutari 
and  see  if  they  could  be  of  use.  Dr.  Blackwood  asked  and 
obtained  an  appointment  as  a  military  chaplain ;  and,  on 
their  arrival,  Lady  Alicia  went  straight  to  Miss  Nightingale 
and  asked  what  she  could  do  to  help  : — 

"  The  reply  she  gave  me,"  wrote  Lady  Alicia,  "  or  rather 
the  question  she  put  me  in  reply,  after  a  few  seconds  of  silence, 
with  a  peculiar  expression  of  countenance,  made  an  indelible 
impression.  '  Do  you  mean  what  you  say  ?  '  '  Yes,  certainly  ; 
why  do  you  ask  me  ?  '  '  Because  I  have  had  several  such  ap- 
plications before,  and  when  I  have  suggested  work,  I  found  it 
could  not  be  done,  or  some  excuse  was  made  ;  it  was  not  exactly 
the  sort  of  thing  intended,  it  required  special  suitability,  &c/ 
'  Well/  I  replied,  '  I  am  in  earnest ;  we  came  out  here  with  no 
other  wish  than  to  help  where  we  could/  '  Very  well,  then, 
you  really  can  help  me  if  you  will.  In  this  Barrack  are  now 
located  some  two  hundred  poor  women  in  the  most  abject  misery. 
A  great  number  have  been  sent  down  from  Varna ;  they  are  in 
rags,  and  covered  with  vermin.  My  heart  bleeds  for  them  ;  but 
my  work  is  with  the  soldiers,  not  with  their  wives.  Now,  will 
you  undertake  to  look  after  them  ?  If  you  will  take  them  as 
your  charge,  I  will  send  an  orderly  who  will  show  you  their 
haunts/  "  * 

Lady  Alicia  went,  and  with  her  husband  was  of  great 
assistance.  Miss  Nightingale  was  mindful  also  of  the 
families  of  her  nurses.  Some  of  them  were  wives  and  widows 

1  Narrative  of  a  Residence  on  the  Bosphorus,  p.  49.  Any  reader  who 
wishes  to  be  harrowed  should  read  the  following  pages  in  Lady  Alicia's 
Journal.  She  died  in  July  1913  in  her  95th  year. 

198  THE  WOMAN'S  EYE  rx.  n. 

who  had  left  children  at  home.  "  Many  things  turn  up/' 
wrote  Lady  Verney  to  a  friend,  "  for  us  to  do  for  Florence  ; 
as  in  looking  after  the  children  of  her  nurses."  And  Mrs. 
Nightingale  wrote  similarly  (April  1855)  : — 

Flo  has  been  writing  incessantly  lately  about  her  nurses' 
families,  for  whom  the  best  seem  getting  very  anxious,  and  she 
scarcely  mentions  anything  else.  We  have  seen  and  heard  much 
in  visiting  them  which  is  a  great  pleasure  to  us. 

Before  the  Roebuck  Committee,  Dr.  Andrew  Smith,  the 
head  of  the  Army  Medical  Department  in  London,  was 
asked,  "  What  do  you  think  was  the  result  of  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's mission? "  "I  daresay,"  he  answered,  apparently  with 
some  reluctance,  "  it  was  very  advantageous  "  ;  and  then, 
pulling  himself  together  like  a  man  and  seeking  to  be  just,  he 
added  :  "  There  is  no  doubt  about  it ;  because  females  are 
able  to  discover  many  deficiencies  that  a  man  would  not 
think  of,  and  they  will  look  at  things  that  a  man  will  have  no 
idea  of  looking  to."  A  very  true  statement ;  and  perhaps 
as  much  as  could  reasonably  be  expected  from  an  official 
on  the  defensive.  But  I  think  we  shall  find  in  the  next 
chapter  that  some  of  the  things  which  Miss  Nightingale 
saw  and  did  were  not  unworthy  of  the  more  comprehensive 
sweep  claimed  by  Dr.  Smith  for  the  male  faculty  of  vision. 



I  have  no  hesitation  in  saying  that  Miss  Nightingale  has  exhibited 
greater  power  of  organization,  a  greater  familiarity  with  details,  while  at 
the  same  time  taking  a  comprehensive  view  of  the  general  bearing  of  the 
subject,  than  has  marked  the  conduct  of  any  one  connected  with  the 
hospitals  during  the  present  war. — SIDNEY  HERBERT  (speech  at  Willis's 
Rooms,  Nov.  29,  1855). 

OSTENSIBLY,  and  by  the  strict  letter  of  her  original  instruc- 
tions, Miss  Nightingale  was  only  Superintendent  of  the 
Female  Nursing  establishment.  In  fact,  and  by  force  of 
circumstances,  she  became  a  Purveyor  to  the  Hospitals,  a 
Clothier  to  the  British  Army,  and  in  many  emergencies  a  Dea 
ex  machina. 

She  became,  first,  Purveyor- Auxiliary  to  the  hospitals  at 
Scutari.  My  statements  under  this  head  might  seem  to  be 
the  inventions  of  a  satirist  if  I  did  not  disclaim  credit  for 
such  ingenuity  by  adding  that  they  are  in  every  case  ex- 
tracted from  official  sources.  Of  the  ignorance  existing  in 
high  places  of  the  true  state  of  things  at  Scutari,  the  best 
illustration  is  the  answer  which  the  British  Ambassador  gave 
when  he  was  asked  by  the  Commissioner  of  the  Times  Fund 
what  things  were  most  needed  in  the  hospitals.  "  Nothing 
is  needed,"  said  Lord  Stratford,  and  the  only  suggestion  he 
could  make  to  the  Times  was  that  it  should  devote  its  fund 
to  building  an  English  Church  at  Pera.  Miss  Nightingale 
thought  that  the  service  of  God  included  the  service  of  man, 
and  Mr.  Macdonald,  the  Times  Commissioner,  agreed  with 
her.  Between  them,  they  established  not  a  church,  but  a 
store.  The  Ambassador  of  course  formed  his  conclusions 
from  what  he  was  told ;  and  the  Principal  Medical  Officer  at 


200         MISS  NIGHTINGALE  AS  PURVEYOR        PT.H 

Scutari  "  stated  that  he  wanted  nothing  in  the  shape  of 
stores  or  medical  comforts  at  a  time  when  his  patients  were 
destitute  of  the  commonest  necessaries.  Assistance  which 
had  been  discouraged  as  superfluous  was  eventually  found 
essential  for  the  lives  of  the  patients."  l 

"  I  am  a  kind  of  General  Dealer,"  wrote  Miss  Nightingale 
to  Mr.  Herbert  (Jan.  4, 1855),  "  in  socks,  shirts,  knives  and  forks, 
wooden  spoons,  tin  baths,  tables  and  forms,  cabbage  and  carrots, 
operating  tables,  towels  and  soap,  small  tooth  combs,  precipitate 
for  destroying  lice,  scissors,  bedpans  and  stump  pillows.  I  will 
send  you  a  picture  of  my  Caravanserai,  into  which  beasts  come 
in  and  out.  Indeed  the  vermin  might,  if  they  had  but  '  unity  of 
purpose/  carry  off  the  four  miles  of  beds  on  their  backs,  and 
march  with  them  into  the  War  Office,  Horse  Guards,  S.W." 

The  caravanserai  was  the  large  kitchen  aforesaid  (p.  173) . 
"  From  this  room,"  wrote  one  of  the  lady  volunteers, 
"  were  distributed  quantities  of  arrowroot,  sago,  rice  pud- 
dings, jelly,  beef-tea,  and  lemonade  upon  requisitions  made 
by  the  surgeons.  This  caused  great  comings  to  and  fro ; 
numbers  of  orderlies  were  waiting  at  the  door  with  requisi- 
tions. One  of  the  nuns  or  a  lady  received  them,  and  saw 
they  were  signed  and  countersigned  before  serving.  We 
used,  among  ourselves,  to  call  this  kitchen  the  tower  of 
Babel.  In  the  middle  of  the  day  everything  and  everybody 
seemed  to  be  there  :  boxes,  parcels,  bundles  of  sheets,  shirts, 
and  old  linen  and  flannels,  tubs  of  butter,  sugar,  bread, 
kettles,  saucepans,  heaps  of  books,  and  of  all  kinds  of  rubbish, 
besides  the  diets  which  were  being  dispensed ;  then  the 
people,  ladies,  nuns,  nurses,  orderlies,  Turks,  Greeks,  French 
and  Italian  servants,  officers  and  others  waiting  to  see  Miss 
Nightingale ;  all  passing  to  and  fro,  all  intent  upon  their 
own  business,  and  all  speaking  their  own  language."  2 

There  was  also  in  "  The  Sisters'  Tower,"  as  this  part  of 
the  Barrack  Hospital  came  to  be  called,  a  small  sitting- 
room  ;  and  in  it  "  were  held  those  councils  over  which  Miss 
Nightingale  so  ably  presided,  at  which  were  discussed  the 
measures  necessary  to  meet  the  daily-varying  exigencies  of 
the  hospital.  From  hence  were  given  the  orders  which 
regulated  the  female  staff.  This,  too,  was  the  office  from 

1  Roebuck  Committee,  Fifth  Report,  pp.  20,  21. 
2  Eastern  Hospitals,  vol.  i.  p.  68. 


which  were  sent  those  many  letters  to  the  Government,  to 
friends  and  supporters  at  home,  telling  of  the  sufferings  of  the 
sick  and  wounded."  x  In  the  Report  of  the  Duke  of  New- 
castle's Commission,  as  also  in  Miss  Nightingale's  Statement 
to  Subscribers,  the  full  list  of  articles  supplied  by  her  may  be 
found,  tabulated  with  a  precision  and  amplitude  of  detail 
characteristic  of  her.  It  included  the  miscellaneous  utensils, 
etc.,  enumerated  above,  and  also  various  articles  of  food 
required  for  the  "  extra  diets  "  mentioned  in  the  preceding 
chapter.  The  supplies  were  furnished  partly  by  the  Times 
Fund,  partly  out  of  moneys  sent  to  her  by  benevolent  persons, 
and  partly  out  of  the  private  purse  of  herself  and  her  im- 
mediate friends.  Much  of  the  expenditure  was  ultimately 
refunded  to  her  by  the  Government.  The  sick  and  wounded 
soldiers  at  Scutari  would,  I  fear,  have  felt  ill  requited  for 
the  lack  of  linen,  sheets,  utensils,  and  extra  diet  by  hearing 
that  a  beautiful  new  church  was  being  built  at  Pera. 

But,  it  may  be  asked,  were  the  things  which  Miss 
Nightingale  procured  and  issued  really  wanted  ?  May 
they  not  have  been  her  fads  ?  and  was  not  hers  perhaps  a 
work  of  supererogation,  for  could  not  the  official  Purveyor 
have  supplied  them  ?  Such  statements  were  widely  made 
at  the  time,  and  one  can  readily  understand  the  reason. 
By  drawing  upon  her  own  stores,  Miss  Nightingale  not  only 
furnished  the  soldiery  with  the  things  they  were  needing, 
but  "  administered  to  the  defaulting  administrators  a 
telling,  though  silent,  rebuke ;  and  it  would  seem  that 
under  this  discipline  the  groove-going  men  winced  in  agony, 
for  they  uttered  touching  complaints,  declaring  that  the 
Lady-in-Chief  did  not  choose  to  give  them  time  (it  was 
always  time  the  males  wanted),  and  that  the  moment  a 
want  declared  itself,  she  made  haste  to  supply  it  herself."  2 
But  such  complaints  were  entirely  unfounded ;  for  it  was 

1  Scutari  and  its  Hospitals,  by  S.  G.  O.,  p.  24. 

2  Kinglake,  p.  430.    He  cites  an  example  of  the  complaints  in  a  private 
letter  from  Sir  John  Burgoyne  to  Lord  Raglan  (March  27,  1855).     The 
complaint  of  the  "  groove -going  men  "  has  been   revived  in  our  own 
day  by  Lord  Stanmore,  who  complains  of  Miss  Nightingale  (Memoir  of 
Sidney  Herbert,  vol.  i.  p.  381)  that  she  got  things  (which  the  Purveyor  had 
failed  to  get)  instead  of  informing  him  where  they  could  be  got.     She 
acted  on  what  is  a  golden  rule  in  cases  of  emergency.     When  she  wanted 
a  thing  done  without  delay,  she  did  it  herself. 

202  THE  BOARD  OF  SURVEY  PT.  n 

shown  by  the  Duke  of  Newcastle's  Commission  that  she 
never  issued  anything  from  her  stores,  nor  did  she  allow 
any  one  else  to  do  so,  except  upon  the  demand  of  the  medical 
officers,  and  after  inquiry  of  the  Purveyor  if  he  could  supply 
them.  I  find  among  Miss  Nightingale's  papers  a  few  of  the 
original  requisitions  from  medical  officers.  Here  is  one 
of  them  : — 

PALACE  HOSPITAL,  iSth  January  1855.  MADAM — I  have  the 
honor  to  forward  a  requisition  for  50  shirts  and  50  warm  flannels. 
The  Purveyor  has  none.  Knowing  the  extensive  demand,  I 
have  limited  my  request  to  meet  the  urgent  requirements  of  the 
most  serious  cases  in  my  charge.  I  have  the  honor  to  be, 
Madam,  your  most  obedient  humble  servant, 

EDWARD  MENZIES,  Staff  Surgeon  in  Charge. 

The  list,  said  the  commissioners  drily,  "  must  not  be  regarded 
as  conclusive  proof  that  the  articles  mentioned  in  it  were 
invariably  wanting  in  the  [Government]  stores."  Goods, 
they  explained,  "  have  been  refused,  although  they  were, 
to  our  personal  knowledge,  lying  in  abundance  in  the  store 
of  the  Purveyor."  Why  refused  ?  Because  the  Purveyor 
took  it  upon  himself  to  override  the  requisition  of  the 
medical  officers  ?  Not  at  all.  "  This  was  done  because 
they  had  not  been  examined  by  the  Board  of  Survey.  On 
one  occasion,  in  the  month  of  December  last  [1854],  we  found 
that  this  was  the  case  with  respect  to  Hospital  rugs,  and  it 
is  probable  that  this  has  not  been  the  only  instance  of  such 
an  occurrence."  Miss  Nightingale's  letters  to  Mr.  Herbert 
show  that  it  was  a  frequent  occurrence.  For  instance,  in 
February  1855,  she  received  a  requisition  from  the  medical 
officers  at  Balaclava  for  shirts.  She  knew  that  27,000  shirts 
had  at  her  instance  been  sent  by  Government  from  home, 
and  they  were  already  landed.  But  the  Purveyor  would 
not  let  them  be  used  ;  "he  could  not  unpack  them  without 
a  Board."  Three  weeks  elapsed  before  the  Board  released 
the  shirts.  The  sick  and  wounded,  lying  shivering  for  want 
of  rugs  and  shirts,  would  have  expressed  themselves  forcibly, 
I  fear,  if  it  had  been  explained  that  they  must  shiver  still 
until  the  Board  of  Survey's  good  time  had  arrived. 

Miss  Nightingale's  impatience  at  such  delays  was  the 
origin,  doubtless,  of  a  story  which  had  wide  currency  at 


the  time  that  on  one  occasion  she  ordered  a  Government 
consignment  to  be  opened  forcibly,  while  the  officials  wrung 
their  hands  at  the  thought  of  what  the  Board  of  Survey 
might  presently  say.  The  story  was  mentioned  in  the 
Roebuck  Committee  ;  and,  though  it  was  not  confirmed,  I 
think  that  Miss  Nightingale  was  quite  capable  of  the  dreadful 
deed.  Certainly  she  often  insisted  on  obtaining  first-hand 
evidence  for  herself,  instead  of  trusting  to  the  report  of 
others  ;  for  in  one  of  her  letters  to  Mr.  Herbert  (Dec.  21, 
1854),  I  nnd  this  passage  :  "  This  morning  I  foraged  in  the 
Purveyor's  Store — a  cruise  I  make  almost  daily,  as  the 
only  way  of  getting  things.  No  mops,  no  plates,  no  wooden 
trays  (the  engineer  is  having  these  made),  no  slippers,  no 
shoe-brushes,  no  blacking,  no  knives  and  forks,  no  spoons, 
no  scissors  (for  cutting  the  men's  hair,  which  is  literally 
alive),  no  basins,  no  towelling,  no  chloride  of  zinc."  Then 
she  enumerates  the  things  which  Mr.  Herbert  should  send 
from  London,  adding,  "  The  other  articles  mentioned  above 
as  not  now  in  store  can  be  had  at  Constantinople  "  or 
Marseilles  ;  whence,  I  imagine,  she  proceeded  to  get  them. 
Shopping  at  Scutari  was  not  an  afternoon's  easy  amuse- 
ment : — 

"  English  people,"  she  wrote  to  Mr.  Herbert  (Dec.  10),  "  look 
upon  Scutari  as  a  place  with  inns  and  hackney-coaches,  and 
houses  to  let  furnished.  It  required  yesterday,  to  land  25  casks 
of  sugar,  four  oxen  and  two  men  for  six  hours,  plus  two  passes, 
two  requisitions,  Mr.  Bracebridge's  two  interferences,  and  one 
apology  from  a  quarter-master  for  seizing  the  araba,  received 
with  a  smile  and  a  kind  word,  because  he  did  his  duty  ;  for  every 
araba  is  required  on  Military  store  or  Commissariat  duty.  There 
are  no  pack-horses  and  no  asses,  except  those  used  by  the 
peasantry  to  attend  the  market  ij  miles  off.  An  araba  consists 
of  loose  poles  and  planks,  extended  between  two  axle-trees, 
placed  on  four  small  wheels,  and  drawn  by  a  yoke  of  weak  oxen. 
.  .  .  Four  days  in  the  week  we  cannot  communicate  with  Con- 
stantinople, except  by  the  other  harbour,  ij  miles  off,  to  which 
the  road  is  almost  impassable." 

But,  somehow  or  other,  Miss  Nightingale  was  able  to 
supply  from  her  stores  in  hand,  or  to  obtain  from  Constan- 
tinople or  Smyrna  or  elsewhere,  many  things  which  the 
Purveyor-General  could  not,  or  would  not,  obtain.  She 

204  AID  TO  THE  ALLIES  PT.  n 

had  the  forethought,  as  already  related,  to  lay  in  at  Mar- 
seilles on  her  way  out  a  large  supply  of  articles  which  she 
deemed  likely  to  be  useful ;  and  at  Scutari  Mr.  Macdonald 
of  the  Times  was  untiring  and  resourceful.  In  the  course 
of  time,  as  funds  continued  to  pour  in,  and  the  Government 
purveying  became  more  efficient,  Miss  Nightingale  was 
able  on  emergency  to  supply,  not  only  the  British,  but  their 
allies.  In  the  spring  of  1856,  when  the  scourge  of  typhus 
committed  sad  ravages  among  the  French,  and  the  amour 
propre  of  the  Intendance  prevented  the  acceptance  of  the 
humane  offer  of  medical  comforts  as  a  loan  from  the  British 
Government,  Miss  Nightingale  paved  the  way  in  over- 
coming this  scruple  by  sending,  as  a  present  to  the  French 
Sisters  and  Medical  Officers,  large  quantities  of  wine,  arrow- 
root, and  meat-essence.  The  Sardinian  Sisters  of  Mercy 
also  experienced  much  kindness  at  her  hands  when  the 
destruction  of  a  supply-ship  by  fire  had  left  them  without 
many  things  needed  by  their  patients.  She  sent  supplies 
also  to  the  Prussian  Civil  Hospital,  where  many  Britishers 
were  treated ;  for  this  good  office  she  received  a  letter  of 
thanks  from  the  king  of  Prussia  (Sept.  1856).  To  her 
quarters  at  Scutari,  the  Turks,  too,  often  resorted  for 
medicine  and  advice.  In  her,  says  an  eye-witness,  the  sickly 
and  needy  of  all  nations  found  an  active  friend.1  "  She 
embraced  in  her  solicitude,"  said  a  French  historian  of  the 
Crimean  War,  "  the  sick  of  three  armies."  z 

Miss  Nightingale's  initiative  was  further  useful  in 
extracting  needed  articles  which  were  contained  in  the 
Government  store,  but  yet  had  not  been  forthcoming,  either 
because  nobody  else  had  asked  for  them,  or  because  some- 
body had  not  been  lucky  enough  to  hit  upon  the  right 
moment  for  asking.  The  system  in  force  was  most  ingeni- 
ously contrived  to  bring  about  such  a  state  of  things.  Articles 
were  only  supplied  to  the  hospitals  by  the  Purveyor  on  the 
requisition  of  a  medical  officer.  The  medical  officers  were 
overburdened  with  work,  and  perhaps  omitted  to  send  in  a 

1  Pincoffs,  pp.  82-83  ;  and  see  Hall,  p.  378. 

z  La  Guerre  de  Crimee,  by  M.  L.  Baudens,  p.  104.  Miss  Nightingale 
paid  a  tribute  to  the  "  wise  and  enlightened  sanitary  views  "  of  M.  Baudens. 
See  her  Subsidiary  Notes,  p.  133  n. 

CH.V         MISS  NIGHTINGALE  AS  CLOTHIER          205 

requisition.  Or  they  sent  in  a  requisition,  and  the  form 
was  returned,  marked  "  None  in  store."  The  articles  may 
subsequently  have  been  obtained  or  have  arrived  from 
England,  but  no  note  was  kept  in  the  Purveying  Depart- 
ment of  unfulfilled  requisitions,  and  unless  the  medical 
officers  requisitioned  again,  the  articles  were  not  supplied. 
The  Commissioners  found  that  from  this  cause  patients  were 
sometimes  left  without  beds,  though  there  were  bedsteads 
in  store  at  the  time.  Happily  Miss  Nightingale  had  laid  in 
a  good  many  at  Marseilles. 


There  was  another  sphere  in  which  Miss  Nightingale 
came  to  the  rescue  of  the  sick  and  wounded  from  the  blunders 
of  official  administration.  She  clothed  them,  50,000  shirts 
in  all  having  been  issued  from  her  store.  The  history  of 
this  private  clothing  department  is  curious.  The  regula- 
tions of  the  War  Office  assumed  that  every  soldier  brought 
with  him  into  hospital  an  adequate  kit,  and  it  was  no  part 
of  the  Purveyor's  duty  to  supply  such  a  thing  as  a  shirt. 
But  three  of  the  four  generals  of  division  in  the  Crimea 
had  decided  not  to  disembark  the  men's  knapsacks. 
Sebastopol,  it  was  confidently  expected,  would  fall  in  a  few 
days'  time,  and  the  men  were  to  march  light.  In  most  cases 
they  never  saw  their  knapsacks  again.1  Hence  the  sick  and 
wounded  who  arrived  at  Scutari  immediately  after  the 
Battle  of  the  Alma  were  destitute  of  all  clothing  except 
what  was  on  their  persons,  and  that  was  in  many  cases  fit 
only  for  the  furnace.  No  regulation  existed  whereby,  if 
the  soldier  had  for  military  reasons  been  deprived  of  his 
kit,  the  deficiency  could  be  made  good.  The  supply  of  a 
change  of  linen  for  the  sick  and  wounded  while  in  hospital, 
and  of  clean  shirts  to  wear  when  invalided  home  or  returned 
to  the  front,  was  perhaps  a  better  allocation  of  benevolent 
funds  than  a  supply  of  altar-cloths  for  a  new  church  at  Pera. 
At  any  rate  Miss  Nightingale  thought  so  ;  and  thus  she  and 
her  coadjutors  were  in  some  measure  the  clothiers  as  well 
as  the  purveyors  of  the  wounded  soldiers. 

1  For  a  reference  to  this  matter  by  Miss  Nightingale,  see  below,  p.  224. 

206  MISS  NIGHTINGALE  AS  BUILDER          PT.  n 


Miss  Nightingale  assumed  responsibility  on  one  occasion 
as  a  builder,  and  this  was  at  the  time  the  usurpation  which 
was  most  condemned  in  some  quarters  and  the  most  com- 
mended in  others.  Some  wards  in  the  Barrack  Hospital 
were  in  so  dilapidated  a  condition  as  to  be  unfit  for  the 
reception  of  patients.  The  Commander-in-Chief  had  warned 
the  hospital  authorities  that  additional  sick  and  wounded 
might  shortly  be  upon  their  hands.  The  uninhabited  wards 
might  by  prompt  expenditure  be  made  capable  of  accom- 
modating 800  cases.  The  expenditure,  however,  would  be 
considerable,  and  no  one  seemed  willing  to  incur  it  without 
superior  authority.  Miss  Nightingale  stepped  into  the 
breach.  With  the  concurrence  of  Dr.  McGrigor,  a  senior 
medical  officer  of  the  hospital,  she  represented  the  urgency 
of  the  case  to  Lady  Stratford  de  Redcliffe.  The  Ambassador 
had  been  empowered,  as  we  have  seen,  to  incur  expenditure ; 
and  his  wife,  as  she  had  given  Miss  Nightingale  to  under- 
stand, was  the  authorized  intermediary  between  the  Am- 
bassador and  the  authorities  of  the  hospitals.  Lady  Strat- 
ford saw  the  urgent  necessity  of  the  work,  and  Mr.  Gordon, 
the  chief  of  the  engineering  staff,  was  instructed  to  put  it 
immediately  in  hand.  The  workmen,  125  in  number, 
presently  struck,  whereupon  Miss  Nightingale,  on  her  own 
authority,  succeeded  in  engaging  200  other  workmen,  and 
the  work  was  rapidly  completed.  Lord  Stratford  subse- 
quently disclaimed  any  responsibility,1  and  Miss  Nightingale 
paid  the  bill  out  of  her  own  private  resources.  The  War 
Department,  when  the  affair  came  to  their  knowledge, 
approved  her  action,  and  reimbursed  her.  This  instance 
of  "  the  Nightingale  power  "  made  a  great  impression,  and 
she  herself  regarded  it  as  the  most  beneficent  thing  she  did 
in  the  East.  The  fame  of  the  affair  was  noised  abroad,  and 
reached  the  British  camp  at  Balaclava,  where  our  unfailing 
friend,  Colonel  Sterling,  heard  of  it  with  hot  indignation. 
Miss  Nightingale,  he  wrote,  "  coolly  draws  a  cheque.  Is 

1  My  statements  are  based  on  a  letter  from  Miss  Nightingale  to  Mr. 
Sidney  Herbert  of  Dec.  5,  1854. 


this  the  way  to  manage  the  finances  of  a  great  nation  ? 
Voxpopuli  ?  A  divine  afflatus.  Priestess,  Miss  N.  Magnetic 
impetus  drawing  cash  out  of  my  pocket !  "  In  normal  times 
it  would  certainly  not  be  the  way  to  manage  the  finances  of 
a  great  nation.  And  even  in  times  of  emergency  the  way 
which  would  of  course  have  occurred  to  any  well-regulated 
slave  of  routine  was  that  Miss  Nightingale  should  have 
spoken  to  some  officer  on  the  spot,  that  he  should  have 
represented  the  case  to  the  Director-General  of  the  Army 
Medical  Department  in  London,  that  the  Director-General 
should  have  moved  the  Horse  Guards,  and  the  Horse  Guards 
the  Ordnance,  that  the  Ordnance  should  then  have  ap- 
proached the  Treasury,  and  that  after  process  of  minut- 
ing and  countersigning,  the  work  should  in  due  course  have 
been  officially  ordered.  But  meanwhile  Lord  Raglan's 
wounded  would  have  arrived  at  the  hospital,  and  there 
would  have  been  no  wards  ready  to  receive  them.  As  it 
was,  "  the  wards  were  ready,"  as  Miss  Nightingale  reported 
to  Mr.  Herbert  (Dec.  21),  "  to  receive  500  men  on  the  igth 
from  the  ships  Ripon  and  Golden  Fleece.  They  were  received 
in  the  wards  by  Dr.  McGrigor  and  myself,  and  were  generally 
in  the  last  stage  of  exhaustion.  I  supplied  all  the  utensils, 
including  knives  and  forks,  spoons,  cans,  towels,  etc., 
clearing  our  quarters  of  these." 


In  all  these  things  Miss  Nightingale  may  be  warmly 
commended,  but  the  officials  need  not  be  too  hotly  con- 
demned. They  were  but  doing  their  duty,  as  they  had 
learnt  it ;  and  for  the  rest,  it  was  the  system,  or  want  of 
system,  that  was  at  fault.  Just  as  in  London  there  was  no 
co-ordination  among  the  Departments,  so  at  Scutari  there 
was  no  unity  of  action,  and  no  clear  personal  responsibility. 
"It  is  a  current  joke  here,"  wrote  Miss  Nightingale  from 
Scutari,  "  to  offer  a  prize  for  the  discovery  of  any  one  willing 
to  take  responsibility."  It  was  never  awarded,  for  Miss 
Nightingale  herself  was,  I  suppose,  "  barred."  In  writing 
to  Mr.  Herbert,  she  called  many  of  the  officials  at  Scutari 
by  very  hard  names,  but  in  other  letters  she  admitted  that 


the  ultimate  fault  lay  elsewhere.  "  The  grand  adminis- 
trative evil/'  she  said  (Dec.  10),  "emanates  from  home- 
in  the  existence  of  a  number  of  departments  here,  each 
with  its  centrifugal  and  independent  action,  uncounteracted 
by  any  centripetal  attraction,  viz.  a  central  authority 
capable  of  supervising  and  compelling  combined  effort  for 
each  object  at  each  particular  time/'  Mr.  Herbert  might 
write,  but  the  officials  would  not  act.  The  force  of  custom 
was  too  strong.  Miss  Nightingale  showed  the  Purveyor  a 
letter  from  the  Minister.  "  This  is  the  first  time/'  he  said, 
"  I  have  had  it  in  writing  that  I  was  not  to  spare  expense. 
I  never  knew  that  I  might  not  be  thrown  overboard." 
"  Your  name,"  she  had  told  Mr.  Herbert  (Nov.  25),  "  is 
continually  used  as  a  bug-bear.  They  make  a  deity  of 
cheapness,  and  the  Secretary  at  War  stands  as  synonymous 
here  with  Jupiter  Tonans,  whose  shafts  end  only  in  a  brutum 
fulmen.  The  cheese  -  paring  system,  which  sounds  un- 
musical in  British  ears,  is  here  identified  with  you  by  the 
officers  who  carry  it  out.  It  is  in  vain  to  tell  the  Purveyors 
that  they  will  get  no  kudos  by  this  at  home." 

It  should  not  be  supposed,  however,  that  Miss  Nightin- 
gale was  a  spurner  of  rules,  and  a  despiser  of  discipline, 
routine,  and  subordination.  The  very  reverse  is  the  case. 
Her  whole  career  makes  it  probable,  the  character  of  her 
mind  suggests  it,  and  the  administration  of  the  funds  placed 
at  her  disposal,  with  which  the  present  chapter  has  mainly 
been  concerned,  proves  it.  If  she  shocked  and  staggered 
some  official  minds  by  her  daring  innovations,  it  was  her 
strictness  and  insistence  upon  rules  and  regulations  that  was 
most  criticized  in  unofficial  quarters.  She  explained  the 
matter  very  clearly  in  her  final  Statement  to  Subscribers.  She 
had  been  placed  by  the  Government  in  two  positions  of 
trust,  each  independent  of  the  other.  She  had  been  ap- 
pointed superintendent  of  the  nursing  establishment ;  and 
she  further  had  received  authority,  as  almoner  of  the  "  Free 
Gifts  "  (as  the  Royal  Bounty  was  called),  to  apply  them,  and 
any  other  gifts  derived  from  private  sources,  in  the  War 
Hospitals.  In  the  second  of  these  capacities,  she  could,  if 
she  had  chosen,  have  administered  her  stores  solely  at  her 
personal  discretion,  and  have  delegated  a  like  discretion  to 


other  superintendents,  sisters,  or  nurses  appointed  by  her. 
But,  except  in  a  few  special  cases,  which  it  were  superfluous 
to  enumerate,  she  rejected  the  liberty  of  personal  discretion, 
and  administered  her  funds  only  upon  the  requisition  of 
medical  officers.  (She  lays  repeated  stress  on  this  fact,  but 
I  daresay  that  she  herself  was  often  the  originating  source  of 
the  requisitions.  We  have  seen  that  in  Harley  Street  she 
had  learnt  the  art  of  managing  overworked  doctors.)  Her 
statement  of  the  reasons  which  governed  her  action  is 
characteristic  of  her  good  sense.  The  exercise  of  personal 
discretion  alone  would  have  been  the  easier  course  ;  but  the 
objections  to  it  were  "  the  abrogation  of  ordinary  rule  ;  the 
impossibility  of  preventing  irregular  issues,  or  at  least  of  dis- 
proving the  charge,  and  the  unfitness  of  a  large  proportion  of 
the  women,  who  efficiently  discharge  the  duty  of  the  Nurses, 
to  be  the  judges  of  the  wants  of  soldiers  and  distribution  of 
supplies  to  them  ;  and,  farther,  the  abuse  which  some  would 
undoubtedly  make  of  the  power.  To  those  to  whom  the 
charge  of  dishonesty  would  not  apply,  religious  partiality 
either  would,  or,  what  in  matters  of  this  kind  is  only  less 
mischievous,  would  be  believed  to,  apply."  Next,  there  was 
the  danger  of  patients  being  given  other  food  than  what  the 
medical  officers  ordered.  "It  is  needless  to  state  to  any 
sensible  person,  even  without  hospital  experience,  the  mani- 
fold dangers  of  issuing  to  Nurses,  whether  '  Ladies,  Sisters, 
or  Nurses/  stores  or  facilities  for  procuring  stores,  to  be 
distributed  at  their  own  discretion  through  the  Wards.  It 
is  to  be  remembered  that  the  employment  of  women  in  Army 
Hospitals  is  recent,  that  many  experienced  and  able  Surgeons 
are  opposed  to  it,  that,  among  these,  some  are  honestly,  and 
some  are  unscrupulously  prone  to  find  objections  to  it,  and 
to  exaggerate  mischiefs  arising  from  it ;  that  the  Surgeon 
can,  to  a  considerable  extent,  allow  the  Nurse  to  be  useful, 
or  force  her  to  be  comparatively  useless,  in  his  Wards  ;  that 
the  War  Hospitals  are  a  bad  field  for  investing  the  Nurse 
with  powers  and  offices  which  she  never  exercises  in  Civil 
Hospitals.  On  these  grounds,  as  strict  an  adherence  to 
existing  rules  as  was  possible  appeared  to  be  the  only 
course.  .  .  .  Miss  Nightingale  exacted  and  she  rendered 
adherence  to  rules  to  a  large  extent,  and  she  strictly  reverted 
VOL.  i  p 


to  them  when  any  emergency,  during  which,  at  the  instance 
of  authorities,  she  had  departed  from  them,  had  ceased.  A 
position  such  as  hers  necessarily  exposes  the  holder  to 
attacks  from  different  quarters  upon  opposite  grounds. 
While  previously  existing  authorities  are  disposed  to  com- 
plain of  all  novel  expenditure  as  lavish,  and  tending  to  the 
relaxation  of  discipline  by  over-indulgence,  others,  who  feel 
themselves  checked  or  restrained  by  regulations  in  the 
distribution  of  comforts  according  to  their  ideas  of  benevo- 
lence, will  naturally  object  to  the  obstruction,  in  their  view 
unnecessarily,  interposed  to  the  current  of  public  liberality. 
While  the  experience  of  all  who  have  conducted  the  opera- 
tions of  any  extensive  charity  proves  that  the  application  of 
the  ordinary  axioms  of  business  is  the  only  road  to  success, 
it  also  sufficiently  shows  that  such  application  is  surely 
attended  by  no  small  measure  of  unpopularity."1 

She  saw  the  value  of  rules,  and  respected  them,  sometimes 
even  when  they  were  ridiculous.  On  a  cold  night  in  January 
1856,  she  was  by  the  bedside  of  a  dying  patient,  whose  feet 
she  found  to  be  stone  cold.  She  requested  an  orderly  to 
fetch  a  hot- water  bottle  immediately.  He  refused,  on  the 
ground  that  his  instructions  were  to  do  nothing  for  a  patient 
without  directions  from  a  medical  officer.  Miss  Nightingale 
stood  corrected,  and  trudged  off  to  find  a  doctor  and  make 
requisition  for  the  bottle  in  due  form.  On  a  night  in  the 
following  month,  there  was  an  unusually  cold  east  wind,  with 
a  heavy  snowfall.  The  patients  in  the  ward  attended  by  a 
civilian  doctor  were  exposed  to  the  wind  and  complained 
bitterly  of  the  cold,  but  the  regulation  supply  of  fuel  had  given 
out.  As  the  Government  store  was  closed,  Miss  Nightingale 
waived  the  rule  about  applying  first  to  the  Purveyor,  and 
gave  the  doctor  fuel  from  her  private  stores.  Next  day  the 
civilian  doctor  requisitioned  in  due  form  for  an  extra  supply 
of  fuel.  He  was  refused.  He  carried  his  case  to  the 
Inspector-General.  That  official  pleaded  that  he  could  not 
depart  from  the  regulations  which  allowed  only  a  certain 

1  Statement,  pp.  19,  26.  How  greatly  Miss  Nightingale's  strict  rules 
were  resented  is  shown  by  attacks  upon  her  administration  printed  by 
certain  of  Miss  Stanley's  nurses.  The  most  bitter  of  these  is  to  be  found 
in  the  text  and  appendix  of  The  Autobiography  of  a  Balaclava  Nurse,  1857 
(No.  13,  Bibliography  B).  See  also  Eastern  Hospitals,  3rd  ed.,  pp.  44-5,  52-3. 


quantity  of  wood  for  each  stove.  But,  urged  the  civilian, 
exceptional  cold  calls  for  an  extra  allowance.  Possibly, 
replied  the  Inspector-General  with  exemplary  gravity,  but 
"  a  Board  must  first  sit  "  upon  the  question.  The  civilian 
smiled  good-humouredly,  and  begged  the  great  man  to 
supply  the  wood  first,  and  let  the  Board  sit  upon  it  when 
the  weather  was  milder.  The  Inspector-General  consented. 
These  little  incidents  l  throw  a  flood  of  light  upon  the  diffi- 
culties through  which  Miss  Nightingale  had  to  thread  her 
way.  She  was  a  firm  believer  in  rules  ;  but  she  was  one  of 
those  able  administrators  who  have  the  sense  to  know,  and 
the  courage  to  act  upon  the  knowledge,  that  rules  sometimes 
exist  only  to  be  broken. 

And  this  was  precisely  the  kind  of  initiative  that  the 
state  of  things  in  the  hospitals  at  Scutari  demanded.  Miss 
Nightingale's  adherence  to  rules  may  have  brought  un- 
popularity upon  her  from  some  of  her  subordinates  or  sub- 
scribers ;  but  her  departure  from  rules,  on  due  cause  of 
emergency,  and  her  cutting  of  knots — perhaps  even  her 
breaking  open  of  consignments — brought  from  her  official 
superior,  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert,  nothing  but  commendation 
and  support.  One  sees  this  sometimes  in  his  letters  to 
herself,  sometimes  in  those  which  he  addressed  to  others,  and 
which  reflect  the  impression  made  upon  him  by  her  vigour 
and  resource.  "  Pray  recollect,"  he  wrote  to  the  senior 
medical  officer  (Dec.  i,  1854),  "  in  your  demands  upon  us 
here,  whether  for  more  men,  more  comforts,  or  more  neces- 
saries, that  there  is  no  question  of  pounds,  shillings  and 
pence  in  such  matters,  but  that  whatever  can  be  got  must  be 
got."  And  to  the  Purveyor-General  he  wrote  :  "  This  is 
not  a  moment  for  sticking  at  forms,  but  for  facilitating  the 
rapid  and  easy  transaction  of  business.  There  is  much 
mischief  done  to  the  public  service  by  the  stickling  for  pre- 
cedence and  dignity  between  departments."  Thus  he  wrote 
to  many  others  also ;  but  he  confessed  to  Mr.  Bracebridge 
that  he  had  "  small  hopes  of  these  men.  I  have  been 
writing  in  this  sense  before,  and  in  vain  ;  but  I  trust  there  is 
some  improvement.  They  are  so  saturated  with  the  cheese- 
paring economy  of  forty  years'  peace,  that  there  is  no  getting 

1  I  take  them  from  Pincoffs,  pp.  58,  79. 


them  to  act  up  to  a  great  occasion/' *    Miss  Nightingale's 
initiative  alone  saved  the  situation. 

I  have  in  this  chapter  separated  various  illustrations  of 
that  initiative  from  others  which,  in  the  preceding  chapter, 
were  attributed  to  "  the  woman's  insight."  But  perhaps  the 
separation,  though  convenient,  is  imaginary,  and  all  the  cases 
of  Miss  Nightingale's  administrative  energy  are  ascribable  to 
the  same  cause.  Such  was  Mr.  Kinglake's  opinion  ;  yet  I 
have  always  suspected  that  the  exceeding  prominence  given 
by  him  to  the  woman's  touch  in  Miss  Nightingale's  work 
may  in  part  have  been  caused  by  a  desire  to  heighten  the 
contrasts,  and  to  barb  with  deadlier  point  his  brilliant 
satire  upon  incompetence  in  official  places.  Let  those  who 
believe  that  it  is  possible  to  make  a  sharp  delimitation 
between  the  "  masculine  "  and  the  "  feminine  mind  "  settle 
this  matter  as  they  may.  It  seems  to  me  that  as  there  are 
old  women  of  both  sexes,  so  in  both  sexes  there  are  men  of 
business.  My  object  in  this  chapter  has  been  to  show  that 
Miss  Nightingale  brought  to  bear  upon  the  task  which  con- 
fronted her  at  Scutari  those  high  powers  of  the  administra- 
tive mind,  be  they  masculine  or  feminine,  which,  in  moments 
of  emergency,  are  capable  of  resource,  initiative,  decision. 

1  Memoir  of  Sidney  Herbert,  vol.  i.  pp.  357,  360.     It  will  be  noticed 
that  he  adopts  some  of  Miss  Nightingale's  expressions. 



We  have  made  Miss  Nightingale's  acquaintance,  and  are  delighted 
and  very  much  struck  by  her  great  gentleness  and  simplicity,  and  wonder- 
ful, clear,  and  comprehensive  head.  I  wish  we  had  her  at  the  War  Office. 
— QUEEN  VICTORIA  (Letter  to  the  Duke  of  Cambridge,  1856). 

"  WHEN  one  reads  such  twaddling  nonsense/'  wrote  Dr.  Hall 
in  November  1855  from  the  Crimea  to  Dr.  Andrew  Smith  in 
London,  "  as  that  uttered  by  Mr.  Bracebridge,  and  which 
was  so  much  lauded  in  the  Times  because  the  garrulous  old 
gentleman  talked  about  Miss  Nightingale  putting  hospitals, 
containing  three  or  four  thousand  patients,  in  order  in  a 
couple  of   days  by  means  of  the  Times  funds,  one  cannot 
suppress  a  feeling  of  contempt  for  the  man  who  indulges  in 
such  exaggerations,  and  pity  for  the  ignorant  multitude  who 
are  deluded  by  these  fairy  tales."  x    The  contempt  and  pity 
of  the  Inspector-General  of  the  hospitals  in  the  East  were 
not  unmixed,  I  think  we  may  surmise,  with  a  good  deal  of 
anger,  which,  we  may  also  surmise,  was  shared  by  his  friend, 
the  Director-General  of  the  Medical  Department  in  London. 
Such  feelings  were  in  the  course  of  human  nature,  and  the 
exaggeration  in  the  statements  cited  by  Dr.  Hall  is  palpable. 
Miss  Nightingale  was  not  a  magician.     It  would  be  an  idle 
fairy  tale  to  represent  that  by  her  exertions,  either  in  a 
couple  of  days,  or  a  couple  of  months,  she  effected  a  complete 
transformation  scene.     And  it  would  be  unfair  to  attribute 
solely  to  Miss  Nightingale  the  gradual  improvements  which, 
though  largely  due  to  her  initiative  and  resource  (as  described 

1  Life  and  Letters  of  Sir  John  Hall,  p.  403,  where  "  Bracebridge  "  is 
misprinted  "  Bainbridge." 


214  '  THE  NIGHTINGALE  POWER  "  PT.  n 

in  preceding  chapters),  were  in  fact  the  result  of  the  exertions 
of  many  persons  both  at  home  and  in  the  East.  "  I  have  an 
unbounded  admiration  of  Miss  Nightingale's  qualifications/' 
said  a  deputy  medical  inspector,  "  and  of  the  manner  she 
applies  them,  but  I  see  dozens  of  things  placed  to  her  credit 
which  I  happen  to  know  she  had  nothing  to  do  with."  1 
Such  was  doubtless  the  case.  Yet  though  in  one  sense 
Dr.  Hall  was  perfectly  right,  in  another  he  was  profoundly 
wrong.  Neither  he,  however,  nor  any  of  the  other  medical 
men  who  shared  his  views,  need  be  blamed  for  their 
misapprehension.  The  facts  of  the  case  can  only  be  fully 
understood  now  that  access  is  obtainable  to  the  private 
correspondence  of  Miss  Nightingale  and  other  actors  in  the 

She  did  many  things  herself,  but  she  was  also  the  inspirer 
and  instigator  of  more  things  which  were  done  by  others. 
She  was  able  of  her  own  initiative  to  institute  considerable 
reforms  ;  but  she  was  a  reformer  on  a  larger  scale  through  the 
influence  which  she  exercised.  Though  she  was  in  truth  no 
magician,  there  were  men  on  the  spot  who,  not  being  able  to 
understand  the  secret  and  sources  of  her  power,  seemed  to 
find  something  uncanny  in  it.  Our  good  friend,  Colonel 
Sterling,  who  hated  the  intrusion  of  petticoats  into  a  cam- 
paign, was  very  much  puzzled.  The  thing  seemed  to  him 
"  ludicrous/'  as  we  have  heard,  but  he  had  to  admit  that 
"  Miss  Nightingale  queens  it  with  absolute  power  "  ;  and 
elsewhere  he  speaks  of  "  the  Nightingale  power  "  as  some- 
thing mysterious  and  "  fabulous/'  The  secret,  however,  is 
simple.  "  The  Nightingale  power  "  was  due  to  causes  of 
which  some  were  inherent  in  herself  and  others  were  ad- 
ventitious. The  inherent  strength  of  her  influence  lay  in  the 
masterful  will  and  practical  good  sense  which  gave  her 
dominion  over  the  minds  of  men.  The  adventitious  sources 
of  her  power  were  that  she  had  both  the  ear  and  the  confid- 
ence of  Ministers,  and  the  interest  and  sympathy  of  the 
Court.  I  have  called  this  accession  of  influence  "  adventi- 
tious," but  it  also  accrued  to  her,  in  a  secondary  degree,  from 
the  inherent  force  of  her  character. 

The  influence  of  the  Court  in  strengthening,  in  speeding 

1  Roebuck  Committee,  Second  Report,  p.  723. 


up,  and  sometimes  in  chiding  Ministers,  especially  in  military 
matters,  was,  during  the  reign  of  Victoria,  very  great,  as  all 
readers  of  memoirs  of  the  time  are  aware.1  And  from  an 
early  period  of  Miss  Nightingale's  mission  the  Court  had 
expressed  a  lively  interest  in  it,  and  had  intimated  a  wish 
that  full  consideration  should  be  paid  to  her  experiences  and 
impressions.  "  Would  you  tell  Mrs.  Herbert,"  wrote  the 
Queen  to  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  (Dec.  6,  1854),  "  that  I  beg  she 
would  let  me  see  frequently  the  accounts  she  receives  from 
Miss  Nightingale  or  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  as  I  hear  no  details  of 
the  wounded,  though  I  see  so  many  from  officers,  etc.,  about 
the  battlefield,  and  naturally  the  former  must  interest  me 
more  than  any  one.  Let  Mrs.  Herbert  also  know  that  I  wish 
Miss  Nightingale  and  the  ladies  would  tell  these  poor,  noble 
wounded  and  sick  men  that  no  one  takes  a  warmer  interest  or 
feels  more  for  their  sufferings  or  admires  their  courage  and 
heroism  more  than  their  Queen.  Day  and  night  she  thinks 
of  her  beloved  troops.  So  does  the  Prince.  Beg  Mrs. 
Herbert  to  communicate  these  my  words  to  those  ladies,  as 
I  know  that  our  sympathy  is  much  valued  by  these  noble 
fellows."  Upon  the  receipt  of  the  Queen's  message,  the 
chaplain  went  through  the  wards  reading  it  to  the  men,  and 
copies  of  it  were  also  posted  on  the  walls  of  the  several 
hospitals.  "  The  men  were  touched,"  Miss  Nightingale  re- 
ported to  Mr.  Herbert  (Dec.  25) .  " '  It  is  a  very  feeling  letter/ 
they  said.  '  She  thinks  of  us '  (said  with  tears) .  '  Each 
man  of  us  ought  to  have  a  copy  which  we  will  keep  till  our 
dying  day/  '  To  think  of  her  thinking  of  us/  said  another  ; 
'  I  only  wish  I  could  go  and  fight  for  her  again/  '  The 
Queen's  message  was  followed  by  more  substantial  proof  of 
Her  Majesty's  interest,  and  here  again  Miss  Nightingale  was 
made  the  intermediary  between  the  throne  and  the  soldiers. 
Through  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert,  the  Queen  had  ascertained  from 
Miss  Nightingale  the  kind  of  comforts  which  would  be  useful 

1  The  classical  passage  in  this  sense  is  in  the  Life  and  Correspondence 
of  the  Rt.  Hon.  Hugh  C.  E.  Childers,  1901,  vol.  ii.  p.  104,  where  it  is  said, 
in  relation  to  the  Egyptian  Expedition  of  1882  :  "  The  Queen  with  her 
well-known  solicitude  for  the  welfare  of  her  Army,  wrote  many  letters  at 
this  time  to  Mr.  Childers  to  satisfy  herself  that  all  precautions  were  being 
taken  for  the  health  and  comfort  of  the  troops  :  one  day  alone  brought 
seventeen  letters  from  Her  Majesty,  or  her  private  secretary,  Sir  Henry 


to  the  wounded,  and  the  following  letter  was  sent  to  her  by 
the  Keeper  of  the  Queen's  Purse  : — 

WINDSOR  CASTLE,  December  14  [1854].  MADAM — I  have 
received  the  commands  of  Her  Majesty  the  Queen  to  forward 
by  the  ship  Eagle  some  packages  containing  some  comforts  and 
useful  articles  which  Her  Majesty  wishes  to  be  placed  in  your 
hands  for  distribution,  as  you  may  think  fit,  amongst  the  wounded 
and  sick  at  Scutari. 

Her  Majesty  has  wished  to  mark  by  some  private  contribution 
from  herself  her  deep  personal  sympathy  for  the  sufferings  of 
these  noble  soldiers,  and  her  admiration  of  the  patience  and  forti- 
tude with  which  they  have  suffered  both  wounds  and  hardships. 

The  Queen  has  directed  me  to  ask  you  to  undertake  the 
distribution  and  application  of  these  articles,  partly  because 
Her  Majesty  wished  you  to  be  made  aware  that  your  goodness 
and  self-devotion  in  giving  yourself  up  to  the  soothing  attendance 
upon  these  wounded  and  sick  soldiers  had  been  observed  by  the 
Queen  with  sentiments  of  the  highest  approval  and  admiration  ; 
and  partly  because,  as  the  articles  sent  did  not  come  within  the 
description  of  Medical  or  Government  stores,  usually  furnished, 
they  could  not  be  better  entrusted  than  to  one  who,  by  constant 
personal  observation,  would  form  a  correct  judgment  where  they 
would  be  most  usefully  employed. 

The  Queen  sent  presents  of  warm  scarves  and  the  like  to 
Miss  Nightingale's  nurses.  The  position  of  Almoner  of  the 
Free  Gifts  and  the  confidence  thus  shown  by  the  Sovereign 
greatly  extended  the  prestige  of  Miss  Nightingale,  who  was 
already  known  to  command  influence  with  the  Government, 
to  have  the  favour  of  the  Press,  and  to  be  the  darling  of 
popular  opinion.  Officials  might  feel  sore,  and  old  fogeys 
might  grumble,  but  the  fact  became  palpable  that  "  the 
Nightingale  power  "  had  to  be  reckoned  with. 


It  was,  however,  behind  the  scenes  that  Miss  Nightingale's 
activity  as  a  reformer  was  most  powerfully  exercised.  In 
accordance  with  Her  Majesty's  command,  reports  from  Miss 
Nightingale  were  forwarded  to  the  Queen,  and  by  her  were 
sent  on  to  the  Duke  of  Newcastle.  The  Duke,  writing  to  the 
Queen  on  December  22,  1854,  assured  Her  Majesty  that  the 
condition  of  the  Hospitals  at  Scutari,  and  the  entire  want  of 


all  method  and  arrangement  in  everything  which  concerns 
the  comfort  of  the  army,  were  subjects  of  constant  and  most 
painful  anxiety  to  him.  "  Nothing  can  be  more  just,"  he 
added,  "  than  all  your  Majesty's  comments  upon  the  state  of 
facts  exhibited  by  these  letters,  and  the  Duke  of  Newcastle 
has  repeatedly,  during  the  last  two  months,  written  in  the 
strongest  terms  respecting  them  —  but  hitherto  without 
avail,  and  with  little  other  result  than  a  denial  of  charges,  the 
truth  of  which  must  now  be  considered  to  be  substantiated."  1 
It  remained  for  Ministers  to  do  what  was  possible  to  remedy 
the  evils. 

Mr.  Sidney  Herbert,  who  (as  already  stated)  had  re- 
lieved the  Duke  of  Newcastle  of  hospital  matters,  needed  no 
compulsion  to  zeal,  and  Miss  Nightingale's  letters  to  him 
showed  in  what  directions  his  zeal  could  most  usefully  be 
employed.  The  Government  of  Lord  Aberdeen,  defeated 
on  the  motion  appointing  the  Roebuck  Committee,  resigned 
in  January  1855,  and  Lord  Palmerston  became  Prime 
Minister.  The  offices  of  Secretary  for  War  and  Secretary 
at  War  were  amalgamated,  and  Lord  Panmure  became 
Secretary  of  State  in  place  of  the  Duke  of  Newcastle.  Mr. 
Herbert  became  for  a  short  time  Secretary  of  State  for  the 
Colonies,  and  then  resigned.  But  Mr.  Herbert  begged 
Miss  Nightingale  to  continue  writing  to  him,  promising 
to  forward  her  representations  to  the  proper  quarters. 
Lord  Palmerston  knew  her  personally,  and  Lord  Panmure 
paid  deference  to  her  wishes  and  opinions,  so  that  the  change 
of  Government  did  not  weaken  her  position.  I  have  before 
me  copies  of  a  long  series  of  letters  addressed  by  Miss  Nightin- 
gale to  Mr.  Herbert  between  November  1854  an(l  May  1855. 
He  had  given  her  private  instructions  that  she  was  to  act 
as  eye  and  ear  for  him  in  the  East.  Of  her  letters  a  few  were 
printed  by  Lord  Stanmore  in  his  Memoir  of  Sidney  Herbert, 
where  also  a  series  of  Mr.  Herbert's  letters,  both  to  her  and 
to  various  officials  concerned,  is  given.  A  comparison  of 
the  one  set  with  the  other  shows  very  clearly  how  much 
of  the  improvements  which  the  Government  of  Lord  Aber- 
deen and  its  successor  were  able  to  effect  was  due  to  the 
suggestions,  the  remonstrances,  the  entreaties  of  Miss 
1  The  Letters  of  Queen  Victoria,  vol.  iii.  p.  79. 


Nightingale.  Her  letters  are  written  with  complete  freedom 
and  often  in  great  haste.  It  would  be  possible  to  make 
isolated  extracts  from  them  which  would  suggest  that  the 
writer  was  a  censorious  and  uncharitable  scold.  But  such 
a  selection  would  convey  a  misleading  impression.  Miss 
Nightingale  wrote  unreservedly  about  individuals,  because 
she  saw,  as  Mr.  Herbert  himself  saw  also,  that  the  personnel 
was  at  fault,  and  that  the  most  admirable  instructions  from 
home  would  be  useless  unless  there  were  men  of  some 
initiative  and  vigour  to  carry  them  out  on  the  spot.  She 
wrote  in  anger,  because  she  saw,  what  Mr.  Herbert  soon  came 
to  know,  that  such  men  were  not  forthcoming.  "  I  write 
all  this  savagery,"  she  said  (March  5,  1855),  "  because  of 
the  non-success  of  your  unwearied  efforts  for  the  good  of 
these  poor  Hospitals."  And  then  something  must  be  allowed 
to  the  caustic  humour  which,  when  Miss  Nightingale  had  a 
pen  in  her  hand,  could  not  be  denied.  "  I  shall  make  no 
further  remark  about  him,"  she  writes  of  a  certain  individual, 
"  than  that  he  is  a  fossil  of  the  pure  Old  Red  Sandstone." 
"  Some  newspaper  has  said  of  me,"  she  writes  on  another 
occasion,  "  that  I  am  the  fourth  woman  (query,  Old  Woman) 
that  has  had  to  do  with  the  war.  Who  are  the  other  three  ?  " 
And  she  goes  on  for  Mr.  Herbert's  amusement  to  nominate 
three  of  his  principal  subordinates  for  the  distinction.  It 
would  argue  a  lack  of  humour  to  take  such  epistolary  diver- 
sions with  no  grain  of  salt.  But  I  do  not  propose  to  follow 
the  example  of  a  previous  writer,  who  has  had  access  to 
these  letters,  in  recording  Miss  Nightingale's  remarks  on 
individuals.  I  desire  rather  to  illustrate  from  the  letters, 
and  from  other  sources,  first,  the  practical  contributions 
to  reform  which  Miss  Nightingale  made  in  some  matters  of 
detail,  and  then  her  firm  grasp  of  the  large  principles  of 
sound  administration. 


Miss  Nightingale  performed  the  duties,  as  we  have  seen, 
of  a  Purveyor  to  the  sick  and  wounded  portion  of  the  British 
army.  The  duty  was  assumed  by  her  only  because  the  home 
authorities  had  been  deficient  in  foresight,  or  the  authorities 
on  the  spot  were  inefficient  and  hampered  by  official  re- 


strictions.  Hence  her  earlier  letters  to  Mr.  Herbert  were 
largely  filled  with  urgent  suggestions  for  the  sending  of 
Government  stores.  She  begs  for  "  hair  mattresses,  or 
even  flock,  as  cheaper."  The  French  hospitals  were  fur- 
nished throughout  with  hair  mattresses  ;  the  British  soldier 
was  suffering  terribly  from  bed-sores.  She  pleads  for  knives 
and  forks  :  "  the  men  have  to  tear  their  meat  like  wild 
beasts."  She  suggests  mops,  plates,  dishes,  towelling,  dis- 
infectants, and  so  forth, — obvious  requirements,  no  doubt, 
but,  as  Mr.  Herbert  said,  the  responsible  authorities  seem 
to  have  shrunk  sometimes  from  making  requisitions  lest 
they  should  thereby  confess  the  inadequacy  of  their  pre- 
parations. It  was  Miss  Nightingale,  again,  who  suggested 
the  need  of  carpenters  to  do  odd  jobs  in  the  vast  and 
imperfectly  equipped  Turkish  buildings  which  served  for 
the  British  hospitals.  She  expressed  herself  most  gratefully 
for  an  "  invaluable  reinforcement "  of  them  which  Mr. 
Herbert  had  sent  out ;  but  their  arrival  necessitated  a 
depletion  in  one  department  of  her  private  stores.  "  These 
men,"  she  wrote  (Feb.  19,  1855),  "  I  had  to  find  with  knives, 
forks,  and  spoons,  in  default  of  the  Purveyor,  who  besides 
would  not  provide  them  with  rations  unless  the  Officer  of 
Engineers  wrote  '  urgent '  and  asked  it  '  as  a  favour.'  ' 

Some  building  operations,  Miss  Nightingale,  as  we  have 
seen,  took  it  upon  herself  to  carry  out ;  and  some  sanitary 
reforms  she  was  able,  by  her  personal  influence  with  the 
orderlies,  to  effect.1  "  The  instruction  of  the  Orderlies  in 
their  business  was,"  she  said,2  "  one  of  the  main  uses  of  us 
in  the  War  Hospitals."  Other  sanitary  engineering  works, 
on  a  larger  scale,  were  ultimately  carried  out,  thanks  in 
part  to  her  urgent  and  detailed  representations  to  the 
authorities  at  home.  She  had  pointed  out  repeatedly  to 
them  that  the  mere  issuing  of  orders  was  insufficient ;  it 
was  essential  that  executive  powers  should  be  placed  in  the 
hands  of  officials  directly  responsible  for  immediate  action. 
When  the  Government  was  reconstituted  after  the  fall  of 
Lord  Aberdeen,  with  Lord  Panmure  as  Secretary  for  War, 
this  lesson  was  taken  faithfully  to  heart,  and  a  Commission 

1  See,  on  these  two  points,  above,  p.  206,  and  below,  p.  242. 
2  In  a  letter  to  Colonel  Lefroy,  Aug.  25,  1856. 

220          THE  SANITARY  COMMISSION,  1855          PT.  n 

of  Three — Dr.  John  Sutherland,  Dr.  Hector  Gavin,  and 
Mr.  Robert  Rawlinson,  C.E. — was  sent  out  to  the  East  with 
full  executive  powers.  They  received  their  instructions  on 
February  19, 1855,  and  within  three  days  they  sailed.  "  The 
tone  of  the  instructions/'  says  Kinglake,  "  is  peculiar,  and 
such  as  to  make  one  believe  that  they  owed  much  to  feminine 
impulsion.  The  diction  of  the  orders  is  such  that,  in  house- 
keeper's language,  it  may  be  said  to  have  '  bustled  the 
servants/  '  The  credit  for  the  bustling  at  home  belongs, 
however,  to  Lord  Shaftesbury,  who  had  pressed  the  appoint- 
ment of  the  Commissioners  upon  Lord  Panmure,  and  who 
was  employed  to  draft  their  instructions.1  The  duties  of 
these  Sanitary  Commissioners  were  laid  down  with  a  minute- 
ness of  detail  which  Miss  Nightingale  herself  could  not  have 
excelled ;  and  they  were  then  told  that  "  the  utmost  ex- 
pedition must  be  used  in  the  execution  of  all  that  is  necessary 
at  the  place  of  your  destination.  It  is  important  that  you 
be  deeply  impressed  with  the  necessity  of  not  resting  content 
with  an  order,  but  that  you  see  instantly,  by  yourselves 
or  your  agents,  to  the  commencement  of  the  work  and  to 
its  superintendence  day  by  day  until  it  is  finished/' 2  It 
is  from  the  Report  of  the  Sanitary  Commissioners  that  I 
drew  many  of  the  statements  about  the  condition  of  the 
hospitals  given  in  an  earlier  chapter.  They  set  about  the 
work  of  sanitary  engineering  with  great  dispatch,  and  the 
death-rate  in  the  hospitals  fell,  as  the  result  of  their  reforms, 
with  remarkable  rapidity.3  "  The  sanitary  conditions  of 
the  hospitals  of  Scutari,"  Miss  Nightingale  told  the  Royal 
Commission  of  1857,  "  were  inferior  in  point  of  crowding, 
ventilation,  drainage,  and  cleanliness,  up  to  the  middle  of 
March  1855,  to  any  civil  hospital,  or  to  the  poorest  homes 
of  the  worst  parts  of  the  civil  population  of  any  large  town 
that  I  have  ever  seen.  After  the  sanitary  works  undertaken 
at  that  date  were  executed  (June),  I  know  no  buildings  in 
the  world  which  I  could  compare  with  them  in  these  points, 
the  original  defects  of  construction  of  course  excepted." 
It  was  this  Commission,  as  Miss  Nightingale  said  afterwards 

1  Hodder's  Life  of  Lord  Shaftesbury,  pp.  503  seq. 

2  Report  of  the  Sanitary  Commission,  March  1857. 

3  For  the  figures,  see  below,  pp.  254,  314. 


to  Lord  Shaftesbury,  that  "  saved  the  British  Army."  In 
Dr.  Sutherland,  the  head  of  the  Sanitary  Commission,  Miss 
Nightingale  found  a  warm  admirer  and  a  stout  supporter. 
During  his  stay  at  Scutari  he  acted  as  her  physician.  On  her 
return  to  England  she  was  on  terms  of  intimate  friendship 
with  him  and  his  wife  ;  and  Dr.  Sutherland  was,  as  we  shall 
hear,  one  of  her  close  allies  in  the  battle  for  reform  in  army 
hygiene.  With  Mr.  (afterwards  Sir  Robert)  Rawlinson  she 
also  formed  a  friendship  which  lasted  to  the  end  of  his  life.  Dr. 
Gavin  died  in  the  Crimea  during  the  work  of  the  Commission. 
In  the  matter  of  stores,  whatever  suggestions  or  requisi- 
tions Miss  Nightingale  sent  home  were  complied  with  by 
Government.  But  it  was  one  thing  to  send  stores  out,  and 
quite  another  to  secure  that  they  should  arrive  when  and 
where  they  were  wanted.  "  Sidney,"  wrote  Mrs.  Herbert  to 
Mrs.  Bracebridge  (Nov.  17,  '54),  "  has  sent  heaps  of  arm- 
chairs, etnas,  and  other  comforts,  but  is  in  terrible  fear  that 
they  may  have  been  carried  on  with  the  troops  to  Balaclava 
from  some  blunder."  Miss  Nightingale's  unerring  eye  for 
detail  and  perception  of  the  point  saw  where  the  evil  lay. 
First,  there  was  no  co-ordination  among  the  departments 
at  home  in  packing  the  things.  The  Prince  (the  wreck  of 
which  in  the  famous  hurricane  of  November  14  was  dis- 
astrous to  the  welfare  of  the  soldiers)  "  had  on  board,"  she 
wrote,  "  a  quantity  of  medical  comforts  for  us,  which  were 
so  packed  under  shot  and  shell  as  that  it  was  found  impossible 
to  disembark  them  here,  and  they  went  to  Balaclava  and 
were  lost."  But  there  was  a  second  obstacle.  The  army 
had  encamped  at  Scutari  as  early  as  May  1854,  but  it  had 
occurred  to  nobody  to  establish  either  there  or  at  Constan- 
tinople an  office  for  the  reception  and  delivery  of  goods. 
Packages,  intended  for  the  army  or  the  hospitals,  if  they 
arrived  in  merchant  vessels,  were  detained  in  the  Turkish 
Custom  House,  from  which  they  were  never  extracted 
without  much  delay,  difficulty,  and  confusion  ;  many  were 
partially  or  entirely  destroyed  ;  and  many  abstracted  and 
totally  lost.  "  The  Custom  House,"  said  Miss  Nightingale, 
"  was  a  bottomless  pit,  whence  nothing  ever  issued  of  all  that 
was  thrown  in."  In  the  case  of  ships  chartered  by  the 
Government,  great  masses  of  goods  were  necessarily  landed 

222  CLOTHING  OF  THE  ARMY  w.n 

together  and  stowed  away  promiscuously  for  want  of  time 
and  space  for  sorting,  and  were  often  delayed  by  an  un- 
necessary trip  to  Balaclava  and  back  again.  There  were 
occasions  in  which  vessels  containing  hospital  stores,  as  well 
as  munitions  of  war,  made  three  voyages  to  and  fro  before 
the  former  were  landed  at  Scutari.  Sometimes  when  Miss 
Nightingale  happened  to  hear  of  an  incoming  vessel  betimes, 
she  was  able,  by  special  petition  to  the  military  authorities, 
to  intercept  hospital  stores  ;  but  she  saw  (what  no  one  else 
seems  to  have  done)  that  the  whole  system  was  at  fault. 
"  It  is  absolutely  necessary,"  she  wrote,  "  that  there  should 
be  a  Government  Store  House,  in  the  shape  of  a  hulk,  where 
stores  for  the  British,  from  whatever  ships,  could  be  received 
at  once  from  them,  and  be  delivered  on  the  ship-store- 
keeper's receipt.  There  are  no  store-houses  to  be  had  by  the 
water's-edge,  and  porterage  is  very  expensive  and  slow." 
In  March  1855  Miss  Nightingale's  solution  was  adopted.1 

As  Purveyor,  Miss  Nightingale  was  directly  concerned 
only  with  the  sick  and  wounded ;  but  the  condition  in 
which  the  men  arrived  at  Scutari  enabled  her  to  learn 
the  state  of  things  at  the  front,  and  she  urged  upon  Mr. 
Herbert  the  necessity  of  sending  out  warm  clothing  to  the 
army  in  the  Crimea.  "  The  state  of  the  troops  who  return 
here,  particularly  those  500  who  were  admitted  on  the  igth, 
is  frost-bitten,  demi-nude,  starved,  ragged.  If  the  troops 
who  work  in  the  trenches  are  not  supplied  with  warm 
clothing,  Napoleon's  Russian  campaign  will  be  repeated 
here."  The  terrible  experiences  of  the  British  army  before 
Sebastopol  during  the  winter  of  1854-55  were  some  fulfil- 
ment of  her  prediction.  When  opportunity  offered  she 
similarly  sent  suggestions  to  Lord  Panmure  ;  then,  in  reply 
to  a  letter  of  kind  inquiries  from  him  about  her  health 
(Aug.  1855),  she  called  attention  to  the  disproportionate 
number  of  patients  which  came  from  the  Artillery,  and 
threw  out  hints  for  economizing  the  men's  labour.2  On  a 
matter  of  the  soldiers'  pay,  she  was  the  means  of  remedying 
a  hardship  which  had  struck  her  at  Scutari.  She  pressed 

1  Statement  to  Subscribers,  pp.   9-10,  and  letter  to  Sidney  Herbert, 
January  22,  1855. 

8  See  Panmure,  vol.  i.  p.  356. 


earnestly  upon  Mr.  Herbert  that  hospital  stoppages  against 
the  daily  pay  of  the  sick  soldier  (gd.)  should  be  made  equal 
to  the  hospital  stoppage  against  the  wounded  soldier  (4jd.), 
provided  that  the  sickness  be  incurred  while  on  duty  before 
the  enemy.  She  made  this  representation  in  December 
1854,  not  only  to  Mr.  Herbert,  but  to  the  Queen.  On 
February  i,  1855,  she  heard  with  great  satisfaction  that  her 
suggestion  had  been  adopted,  and  that  the  soldiers'  accounts 
were  to  be  rectified  in  that  sense  as  from  the  Battle  of  the 


The  Queen  had  asked  Miss  Nightingale  to  make  sugges- 
tions as  to  what  Her  Majesty  could  do  "  to  testify  her  sense 
of  the  courage  and  endurance  so  abundantly  shown  by  her 
sick  soldiers."  One  of  the  suggestions  submitted  was  the 
rectification  just  mentioned.  Another  suggestion  was  that 
a  Firman  should  be  immediately  asked  of  the  Sultan  granting 
the  military  cemetery  at  Scutari  to  the  British,  and  that 
Her  Majesty  should  have  it  enclosed  by  a  stone  wall.  "  There 
are  already,  alas ! "  wrote  Miss  Nightingale,  "  about  a 
thousand  lying  in  this  cemetery.  Nine  hundred  were 
reported  last  week.  We  have  buried  one  hundred  in  the 
last  two  days  only.  The  spot  is  beautiful,  overlooking  the 
Sea  of  Marmora,  and  occupies  the  space  between  the  General 
Hospital  wall  and  the  edge  of  the  sea-cliff/'  The  suggestion 
must  have  gone  straight  to  the  Queen's  heart,  for  Miss 
Nightingale  was  informed  that  Her  Majesty  had  written 
on  the  subject  both  to  Lord  Clarendon,  the  Secretary  of 
State  for  Foreign  Affairs,  and  to  the  British  Ambassador 
to  the  Porte.  The  Firman  was  obtained  in  due  course,  and 
the  well-kept  British  enclosure  attracts  the  attention  of 
travellers  to  this  day  by  contrast  with  the  Oriental  burial- 
places.  It  was  again  at  Miss  Nightingale's  suggestion  that 
a  memorial  obelisk,  far  seen  in  lonely  splendour,  was  erected 
"  by  Queen  Victoria  and  her  people."  1 

But  I  must  not  linger  further  over  points  of  detail.  Miss 
Nightingale's  eye  for  detail  did  not  prevent  her  from  taking 

1  In  1865  Miss  Nightingale,  after  an  energetic  correspondence  with  the 
War  Office,  secured  payment,  long  before  promised,  to  an  English  custode. 


comprehensive  views,  and  from  time  to  time  she  sent  to 
Mr.  Herbert  schemes  of  reorganization.  In  the  following 
letter,  of  January  8,  1855,  sne  exposed  the  extent  and  nature 
of  the  evil  in  the  hospitals,  and  the  kind  of  reform  which 
was  needed  to  remedy  them  :— 

As  the  larger  proportion  of  the  army  (in  which  we  are  told 
that  there  are  not  two  thousand  sound  men)  is  coming  into 
hospital — as  there  are  therefore  thousands  of  lives  at  stake — as, 
in  a  service  where  the  future  of  the  official  servants  is  dependent 
upon  the  personal  interest  of  one  man,  these  cannot  be  expected 
to  peril  that  future  by  getting  themselves  shelved  as  innovators. 

I  feel  that  this  is  no  time  for  compliments  or  false  shame  ; 
and  that  you  will  never  hear  the  whole  truth,  troublesome  as  it  is, 
except  from  one  independent  of  promotion.  .  .  . 

I  subjoin  a  rough  estimate  of  what  has  been  given  out  by  me 
during  one  month — the  whole  at  the  "  requisition  "  of  the  Medical 
Men — all  of  which  I  have  by  me  (merely  in  order  to  substantiate 
the  facts  of  the  destitution  of  these  hospitals). 

Since  the  lyth  December,  we  have  received  3400  sick,  and  I 
have  made  no  sum  total  as  yet  of  what  has  been  done  for  these 
new-comers  by  us — excepting  for  one  corridor,  which  I  enclose. 

(1)  Thus  the   Purveying  is  nil — that  is  the  whole  truth, 
beyond  bedding,  bread,  meat,  cold  water,  fuel. 

Beyond  the  boiling  tn  masse  in  the  great  coppers  of  the 
general  kitchen  the  meat  is  not  cooked,  the  water  is  not  boiled 
except  what  is  done  in  my  subsidiary  kitchens.  My  schedule 
will  show  what  I  have  purveyed. 

I  have  refused  to  go  on  purveying  for  the  third  Hospital, 
the  Sultan's  Serail l — the  demands  upon  me  there  having  been 
begun  with  twelve  hundred  articles,  including  shirts,  the  first 
night  of  our  occupying  it.  I  refer  you  to  a  List  of  what  was  not 
in  store,  and  to  a  copy  of  one  requisition  upon  me  sent  last 

(2)  The  extraordinary  circumstance  of  a  whole  army  having 
been  ordered  to  abandon  its  kits,  as  was  done  when  we  landed 
our  men  before  Alma,  has  been  overlooked  entirely  in  all  our 
system.     The  fact  is,  that  I  am  now  clothing  the  British  Army. 
The  sick  were  re-embarked  at  Balaclava  for  these  Hospitals, 
without  resuming  their  kits,  also  half-naked  besides.     And  when 
discharged  from  here,  they  carry  off,  small  blame  to  them,  even 
my  knives  and  forks — shirts,  of  course,  and  Hospital  clothing 
also.      The   men  who  were   sent  to  Abydos  as  convalescents 
were  sent  in  their  Hospital  dresses,  or  they  must  have  gone  naked. 

1  This  is  the  "  Palace  Hospital."     See  above,  p.  174. 


The  consequence  is  that  not  one  single  Hospital  dress  is  now  left 
in  store,  and  I  have  substituted  Turkish  dressing-gowns  from 
Stamboul  (three  bales  in  the  passage  are  marked  Hospital  Gowns, 
but  have  not  yet  been  "  sat  upon  ").  To  purvey  this  Hospital 
is  like  pouring  water  into  a  sieve  ;  and  will  be,  till  regimental 
stores  have  been  sent  out  from  England  enough  to  clothe  the 
naked  and  refill  the  kit. 

I  have  requisitions  for  Uniform  trousers,  for  each  and  all  of 
the  articles  of  a  kit,  sent  in  to  me. 

We  have  not  yet  heard  of  boots  being  sent  out ;  the  men 
come  into  Hospital  half-shod. 

In  a  time  of  such  calamity,  unparalleled  in  the  history,  I 
believe,  of  calamity,  I  have  a  little  compassion  left  even  for  the 
wretched  Purveyor,  swamped  amid  demands  he  never  expected. 
But  I  have  no  compassion  for  the  men  who  would  rather  see 
hundreds  of  lives  lost  than  waive  one  scruple  of  the  official 

(3)  The  Hospital  and  Army  Stores  come  out  in  the  same 
vessels — and  up  go  our  stores  to  Balaclava,  and  down  they  never 
come  again,  or  have  not  yet. 

(4)  The  total  inefficiency  of  the  Hospital  Orderly  System 
as  now  is.     The  French  have  a  permanent  system  of  Orderlies, 
trained  for  the  purpose,  who  do  not  re-enter  the  ranks.     It  is 
too  late  for  us  to  organize  this.     But  if  the  convalescents,  being 
good  Orderlies,  were  not  sent  away  to  the  Crimea  as  soon  as  they 
have  learnt  their  work — if  the  Commander-in-Chief  would  call 
upon  the  Commanding  Officer  of  each  Regiment  to  select  ten  men 
from  each  as  Hospital  Orderlies  to  form  a  depot  here  (not  young 
soldiers,  but  men  of  good  character),  this  would  give  some  hope 
of  organizing  an  efficient  corps.     Above  all,  that  the  class  of 
Ward-Master  I  shall  mention  should  be  sent  out  from  England. 

We  require  : — 

(1)  An   effective   staff  of   Purveyors   out   from   England — 
but  beyond  this, 

(2)  A  head,  some  one  with  authority  to  mash  up  the  depart- 
ments into  uniform  and  rapid  action.     He  may  as  well  stay  at 
home  unless  he  have  power  to  modify  the  arrangements  of 
departments  made  expressly  by  Sir  C.  Trevelyan  with  Mr.  Wref ord 
before  he  came  away  in  May. 

(3)  We  want  Medical  Officers. 

(4)  Three  Deputy  Inspectors-General  (whereas  we  have  only 
one).  ...  It  is  obvious  from  what  has  been  said  in  former 
letters  who,  if  there  are  two  Deputy  Inspector-Generals  made  to 
these  Hospitals,  should  be  made  Deputy  Inspector-General  of 
this  Barrack  Hospital,  past  and  present  efficiency  being  con- 

VOL.  I  Q 

226          WARD-MASTERS  AND  ORDERLIES          PT.  n 

(5)  We   want   discharged   Non-Commissioned   Officers,    not 
past  the  meridian  of  life — not  the  Ambulance  Corps,  who  all  died 
of  delirium  tremens  or  cholera — but  the  class  of  men  employed 
as  Ward-Masters  of  Military  Prisons,  or  as  Barrack  Sergeants,  or 
Hospital  Sergeants  of  the  Guards  who  can  be  highly  recommended. 

We  want  these  men  as  Ward-Masters  and  Assistant  Ward- 
Masters  as  Stewards.  They  must  be  under  the  orders  of  the 
Senior  Medical  Officer,  removable  by  him  ;  they  must  be  well 
paid  so  as  to  make  it  worth  their  while, — say  55.  per  day,  ist  class, 
2s.  6d.  per  day  2nd  class — for  they  must  be  superior  men,  not 
the  rabble  we  have  now.  (N.B. — There  are  three  Ward-Masters 
to  each  division  of  this  Hospital — of  which  there  are  three — 
containing  800  and  odd  sick  in  each.) 

The  book  of  Hospital  regulations,  admirable  in  time  of  peace, 
contains  nothing  for  a  time  of  war,  much  less  a  time  of  war  like 
this,  unexampled  for  calamity. 

The  Hospital  Sergeants  are,  of  course,  up  in  the  Crimea  with 
their  regiments, — and  we  have  nothing  but  such  raw  Corporals 
and  Sergeants  as  can  be  spared,  new  to  their  work,  to  place  in 
charge  of  the  divisions  and  wards.  And  these  Lord  Raglan 
complains  of  our  keeping.  We  must  have  Hospital  Sergeants 
if  there  is  to  be  the  remotest  hope  of  efficiency  among  the  Orderlies 

(6)  The  Orderlies  ought  to  be  well  paid,  well  fed,  well  housed. 
They  are  now  overworked,  ill  fed,  and  underpaid.     The  sickness 
and  mortality  among  them  is  extraordinary — ten  took  sick  in  one 
Division  to-night.  .  .  . 

I  had  written  a  plan  for  the  systematic  organization  of  these 
Hospitals  upon  a  principle  of  centralization,  under  which  the 
component  parts  might  be  worked  in  unison.  But,  on  re- 
consideration, deeming  so  great  a  change  impracticable  during 
the  present  heavy  pressure  of  calamities  here,  I  refrain  from 
forwarding  it,  and  substitute  a  sketch  of  a  plan,  by  which  great 
improvement  might  be  made  from  within,  without  abandoning 
the  forms  under  which  the  service  is  carried  on.  ... 

This  further  scheme  may,  however,  be  given  more 
shortly  from  a  later  letter  (Jan.  28)  : — 

As  the  Purveying  seems  likely  to  come  to  an  end  of  itself, 
perhaps  I  shall  not  be  guilty  of  the  murder  of  the  Innocents  if  I 
venture  to  suggest  what  may  take  the  place  of  the  venerable 
Wreford.  Cornelius  Agrippa  had  a  broom-stick  which  used  to 
fetch  water  for  his  use.  When  the  broom-stick  was  cut  in  two 
by  the  axe  of  an  unwary  student,  each  end  of  the  severed  broom, 
catching  up  a  pitcher,  began  fetching  water  with  all  its  might. 
Were  the  Purveyor  here  cut  in  three,  we  might  conceive  some 


hope  of  having  not  only  water,  but  food  also,  and  clothing  fetched 
us.  Let  there  be  three  distinct  offices  instead  of  one  indistinct 
one  : — 

(1)  To  provide  us  with  food. 

(2)  With  Hospital  furniture  and  clothing. 

(3)  To  keep  the  daily  routine  going. 

These  are  now  the  three  offices  of  the  unfortunate  Purveyor  ; 
and  none  of  them  are  performed. 

But  the  Purveyor  is  supposed  to  be  only  the  channel  through 
which  the  Commissariat  stores  pass.  Theoretically,  but  not  prac- 
tically, it  is  so.  (For  practically  Wreford  gets  nothing  through 
the  Commissary,  but  employs  a  contractor.) 

Now,  why  should  not  the  Commissariat  purvey  the  Hospital 
with  food  ?  perform  the  whole  of  Purveyor's  office,  No.  i  ? 
The  practice  of  drawing  raw  rations,  as  here  seen,  seems  invented 
on  purpose  to  waste  the  time  of  as  many  Orderlies  as  possible, 
who  stand  at  the  Purveyor's  office  from  4  to  9  A.M.  drawing  the 
patients'  breakfast,  from  10  to  12,  drawing  their  dinner — and 
to  make  the  patients'  meals  as  late  as  possible — because  it  is 
impossible  to  get  the  diets,  thus  drawn,  cooked  before  3  or  4 
o'clock.  The  scene  of  confusion,  delay,  and  disappointment 
where  all  these  raw  diets  are  being  weighed  out  by  twos,  and 
threes,  and  fours,  is  impossible  to  conceive,  unless  one  has  seen  it, 
as  I  have,  day  after  day.  And  one  must  have  been,  as  I  have, 
at  all  hours  of  the  day  and  night  in  this  Hospital  to  conceive 
the  abuses  of  this  want  of  system — raw  meat,  drawn  too  late  to 
be  cooked,  standing  all  night  in  the  wards,  etc.,  etc.,  etc.  Why 
should  not  the  Commissariat  send  at  once  the  amount  of  beef  and 
mutton,  etc.,  etc.,  required  into  the  kitchens,  without  passing 
through  this  intermediate  stage  of  drawing  by  Orderlies  ? 

Let  a  Commissariat  Officer  reside  here — let  the  Ward-Masters 
make  a  total  from  the  Diet  Rolls  of  the  Medical  Men — so  many 
hundred  full  diets — so  many  hundred  half -diets — so  many  hundred 
spoon  diets,  and  give  it  over  to  the  Commissariat  Officer  the  day 
before.  The  next  day  the  whole  quantity,  the  total  of  all  the 
Ward-Masters'  totals,  is  given  into  the  kitchens  direct. 

It  should  be  all  carved  in  the  kitchens  on  hot  plates,  and  at 
meal-times  the  Orderlies  come  to  fetch  it  for  the  patients — carry 
it  through  the  wards,  where  an  Officer  tells  it  off  to  every  bed, 
according  to  the  Bed-ticket,  on  which  he  reads  the  Diet,  hung  up 
at  every  bed.  The  time  and  confusion  thus  saved  would  be 
incalculable.  Punctuality  is  now  impossible  ;  the  food  is  half- 
raw,  and  often  many  hours  after  time.  Some  of  the  portions  are 
all  bone,  whereas  the  meat  should  be  boned  in  the  kitchen, 
according  to  the  plan  now  proposed,  and  the  portions  there 
carved  contain  meat  only.  Pray  consider  this. 

228         HINTS  FROM  THE  FRENCH  SYSTEM       PT.  n 

There  might  be,  besides,  an  Extra  Diet  Kitchen  to  each 
division ;  a  teapot,  issue  of  tea,  sugar,  'etc.,  to  every  mess,  for 
which  stores  make  the  Ward-Master  responsible  ;  arrow-root, 
beef -tea,  etc.,  to  be  issued  from  the  Extra  Diet  Kitchens. 

But  into  these  details  it  is  needless  to  enter  to  you. 

(2)  The  second  office  of  the  Purveyor  now  is  to  furnish,  upon 
requisition,  the  Hospital  with  utensils  and  clothing.     But  let 
the  Hospital  be  furnished  at  once,  as  has  been  already  described 
in  former  letters.     If  2000  beds  exist,  let  these  2000  beds  have 
their  appropriate  complement  of  furniture  and  clothing,  station- 
ary and  fixed.     Whether  these   be  originally  provided  by   a 
Commissary  or  a  storekeeper,  let  those  who  are  competent  decide. 
The  French  appear  to  give  as  much  too  much  power  to  their 
Commissariat,  who  are  the  real  chiefs  of  their  Hospitals,  while  the 
Medical  Men  are  only  their  slaves,  as  we  give  too  little.     But  the 
Hospital  being  once  furnished,  and  a  store-keeper  appointed  to 
each  division  to  supply  wear  and  tear,  let  the  Ward-Masters  be 
responsible.     Let  an  inventory  hang  on  the  door  of  each  ward 
of  what  ought  to  be  found  there.     Let  the  Ward-Masters  give  up 
the  dirty  linen  every  night  and  receive  the  same  quantity  in  clean 
linen  every  morning.     Let  the  Patient  shed  his  Hospital  clothing 
like  a  snake  when  he  goes  out  of  Hospital,  be  inspected  by  the 
Quarter-Master,  and  receive,  if  necessary,  from  Quarter-Master's 
store  what  is  requisite  for  his  becoming  a  soldier  again.     While 
the  next  patient  succeeds  to  his  bed  and  its  furniture. 

(3)  The  daily  routine  of  the  Hospital.     This  is  now  performed, 
or  rather  not  performed  by  the  Purveyor.     I  am  really  cook, 
housekeeper,  scavenger  (I  go  about  making  the  Orderlies  empty 
huge  tubs),  washer- woman,  general  dealer,  store-keeper.     The 
Purveyor  is  supposed  to  do  all  this,  but  it  is  physically  impossible. 
And  the  filth,  and  the  disorder,  and  the  neglect,  let  those  describe 
who  saw  it  when  we  first  came.  .  .  . 

Let  us  have  a  Hotel-keeper,  a  House-steward,  who  shall  take 
the  daily  routine  in  charge — the  cooking,  washing  and  cleaning 
us  —  the  superintending  the  housekeeping,  in  short,  be  re- 
sponsible for  the  cleanliness  of  the  wards,  now  done  by  one 
Medical  Officer,  Dr.  M'Grigor,  by  me,  or  by  no  one— inspect  the 
kitchens,  the  wash-houses,  be  what  a  housekeeper  ought  to  be 
in  a  private  Asylum. 

With  the  French  the  chef  d' administration,  the  Commissary, 
as  we  should  call  him,  is  the  master  of  the  Orderlies.  And  the 
Medical  Men  just  come  in  and  prescribe,  as  London  physicians  do, 
and  go  away  again.  With  us  the  Medical  Officers  are  everything, 
and  have  to  do  everything,  however  heterogeneous.  The  French 
system  is  bad,  because,  though  there  may  be  twenty  things  down 
on  the  Carte  for  the  Medical  Man  to  choose  his  patient's  diet 


from,  nominally,  the  Chef  d'Administration  may  have  provided 
only  two,  and  the  Patient  has  no  redress. 

Whether,  in  any  new  plan,  the  House  Stewards  have  the 
command  of  the  Orderlies,  or  the  Medical  Man,  which  I  am 
incompetent  to  determine,  whichever  it  be  let  us  have  a  Governor 
of  the  Hospital.  As  it  is  a  Military  Hospital,  a  Military  Head  is 
probably  necessary  as  Governor. 

On  September  20,  1855,  a  Royal  Warrant  was  issued, 
reorganizing  the  Medical  Staff  Corps,  "  for  the  better  care 
of  the  sick  and  wounded,"  revising  the  duties  of  the  several 
officers,  and  improving  their  pay.  Any  one  who  cares  to 
refer  to  this  Warrant,  and  to  compare  it  with  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's letters  just  given,  will  see  that  in  large  measure  her 
suggestions  were  adopted  by  the  War  Department. 

Miss  Nightingale  was  careful,  as  we  have  seen,  not  to 
interfere  with  the  doctors,  and,  though  she  thought  that  as 
administrators  some  of  them  were  ineffective,  she  bore 
willing  testimony  to  their  skill  and  devotion  (with  some 
few  exceptions)  in  their  proper  work.  But  she  could  not 
abstain  from  deploring  one  great  omission,  and  she  offered 
to  subscribe  largely  towards  repairing  it : — 

"  One  thing  which  we  much  require,"  she  wrote  to  Mr.  Herbert 
(Feb.  22,  1855),  "  might  easily  be  done.  This  is  the  formation 
of  a  Medical  School  at  Scutari.  We  have  lost  the  finest  oppor- 
tunity for  advancing  the  cause  of  Medicine  and  erecting  it  into 
a  Science  which  will  probably  ever  be  afforded.  There  is  here 
no  operating  room,  no  dissecting  room ;  post-mortem  examina- 
tions are  seldom  made,  and  then  in  the  dead-house  (the  ablest 
Staff  Surgeon  here  told  me  that  he  considered  that  he  had  killed 
hundreds  of  men  owing  to  the  absence  of  these)  no  statistics  are 
kept  as  to  between  what  ages  most  deaths  occur,  as  to  modes  of 
treatment,  appearances  of  the  body  after  death,  etc.,  etc.,  etc., 
and  all  the  innumerable  and  most  important  points  which  con- 
tribute to  making  Therapeutics  a  means  of  saving  life,  and  not, 
as  it  is  here,  a  formal  duty.  Our  registration  generally  is  so 
lamentably  defective  that  often  the  only  record  kept  is — a  man 
died  on  such  a  day.  There  is  a  kiosk  on  the  Esplanade  before 
the  Barrack  Hospital,  rejected  by  the  Quarter-Master  for  his 
stores,  which  I  have  asked  for  and  obtained  as  a  School  of 
Medicine.  It  is  not  used  now  for  any  purpose — £300  or  £400 
(which  I  would  willingly  give)  would  put  it  in  a  state  of  repair. 
It  is  not  overlooked  and  is  in  every  way  calculated  for  the  purpose 
I  have  named.  The  Medical  teaching  duties  could  not  be  carried 

230          "S.G.O."  AND  MISS  NIGHTINGALE         PT.H 

on  efficiently  with  a  less  staff  than  two  lecturers  on  Physiology 
and  Pathology,  and  one  lecturer  on  Anatomy,  who  will  be  em- 
ployed in  preparing  the  subject  for  demonstration,  and  performing 
operations  for  the  information  of  the  Juniors." 

This  suggestion  also  was  in  part  adopted.  An  excellent 
dissecting-room  was  built,  provided  with  numerous  instru- 
ments, microscopes  and  other  apparatus.1 

And  so  this  woman  of  ideas  went  on,  week  by  week, 
month  by  month,  pouring  in  requisitions,  hints,  plans,  to 
the  Government  at  home  ;  sometimes  getting  things  done 
as  she  wanted,  at  others  making  suggestions  which,  had  they 
been  adopted,  would  still  more  have  conduced  to  efficiency. 
Something  of  that  calm  and  clear  sagacity,  which  impressed 
Queen  Victoria  and  Prince  Albert  when  they  made  her 
personal  acquaintance,2  was  reflected  in  her  appearance  and 
demeanour  as  observed  by  eye-witnesses  at  Scutari.  "  In 
appearance,"  wrote  Mr.  Osborne,  "  Miss  Nightingale  is 
just  what  you  would  expect  in  any  other  well-bred  woman, 
who  may  have  seen  perhaps  rather  more  than  thirty  years  of 
life  ;  her  manner  and  countenance  are  prepossessing,  and 
this  without  the  possession  of  positive  beauty ;  it  is  a  face 
not  easily  forgotten,  pleasing  in  its  smile,  with  an  eye  be- 
tokening great  self-possession,  and  giving,  when  she  wishes, 
a  quiet  look  of  firm  determination  to  every  feature.  Her 
general  demeanour  is  quiet  and  rather  reserved  ;  still,  I 
am  much  mistaken  if  she  is  not  gifted  with  a  very  lively  sense 
of  the  ridiculous.  In  conversation,  she  speaks  on  matters 
of  business  with  a  grave  earnestness  one  would  not  expect 
from  her  appearance.  She  has  evidently  a  mind  disciplined 
to  restrain  under  the  principles  of  the  action  of  the  moment 
every  feeling  which  would  interfere  with  it.  She  has  trained 
herself  to  command,  and  learned  the  value  of  conciliation 
towards  others  and  constraint  over  herself.  I  can  conceive 
her  to  be  a  strict  disciplinarian  ;  she  throws  herself  into  a 
work  as  its  head.  As  such  she  knows  well  how  much 

1  See  Pincoffs,  p.  55. 
2  See  the  words  cited  at  the  head  of  this  chapter,  and  below,  pp.  324,  325. 


success  must  depend  upon  literal  obedience  to  her  every 
order."  l 

It  was  soon  perceived  at  Scutari  that  Miss  Nightingale 
was  a  power.  She  mentioned  incidentally  at  a  later  period 
a  curious  fact,  which  shows  the  way  in  which  officers  ap- 
pealed to  her  as  a  kind  of  emergency-man.  In  1862  she 
was  pressing  the  War  Office  to  separate  the  function  of 
Banker  from  that  of  Purveyor,  and  she  illustrated  the  con- 
fusion caused  by  the  amalgamation  from  her  own  experience. 
Among  the  instances  was  this  :  "I  had  at  Scutari  thousands 
of  sovereigns  at  a  time  in  my  bedroom,  entrusted  to  me  by 
officers  who  preferred  making  me  their  banker  because  of 
the  perpetual  discord.  '  Offend  the  Commissary  or  Pur- 
veyor, and  you  won't  be  able  to  get  your  money.'  "  2  It 
was  soon  perceived  also  that  Miss  Nightingale  was  the  person 
who,  if  any  one,  could  get  things  done,  and  any  official  who 
had  an  idea  took  it  to  her.  In  the  letters  to  Sidney  Herbert 
she  sometimes  bids  him  know  that  what  she  says  does  not 
merely  come  from  "  poor  me,"  but  represents  the  views  "  of 
all  the  best  men  here."  But  she,  I  think,  was  the  best  man 
of  them  all.3  Such  was  the  opinion,  at  any  rate,  of  a  man 
among  men,  the  redoubtable  Sydney  Godolphin  Osborne. 
"  Every  day,"  he  wrote  in  describing  his  experience  at 
Scutari,  "  brought  some  new  complication  of  misery  to  be 
somehow  unravelled.  Every  day  had  its  peculiar  trial  to 
one  who  had  taken  such  a  load  of  responsibility,  in  an  untried 
field,  and  with  a  staff  of  her  own  sex,  all  new  to  it.  Hers 
was  a  post  requiring  the  courage  of  a  Cardigan,  the  tact  and 
diplomacy  of  a  Palmerston,  the  endurance  of  a  Howard, 
the  cheerful  philanthropy  of  a  Mrs.  Fry.  Miss  Nightingale 
fills  that  post ;  and,  in  my  opinion,  is  the  one  individual 
who  in  this  whole  unhappy  war  has  shown  more  than  any 
other  what  real  energy  guided  by  good  sense  can  do  to 
meet  the  calls  of  sudden  emergency."  4  And  hence  it  was, 
too,  that  any  official  who  felt  the  urgency  of  some 

1  Scutari  and  its  Hospitals,  p.  25. 

2  Letter  to  Captain  Galton,  June  28,  1862.     On  the  general  question, 
see  vol.  ii.  p.  64. 

3  It  was  a  mot  of  Mr.  Stafford's  that  he  had  only  met  two  men  in  the 
East,  Omar  Pacha  (the  Turkish  Commander)  and  Florence  Nightingale. 

4  Scutari  and  its  Hospitals,  p.  27. 

232      "  GOING  TO  MISS  NIGHTINGALE  "  FT.  n 

particular  need  in  his  own  department  carried  his  case 
to  the  Lady-in-Chief.  Did  a  surgeon  want  some  point 
represented  with  special  urgency  to  the  authorities  at 
home  ?  He  went  to  Miss  Nightingale.  Did  a  pur- 
veyor want  some  special  authority  from  the  military  to 
facilitate  his  task  ?  He  went  to  Miss  Nightingale.  The 
centre  of  initiative  at  Scutari  was  in  the  Sisters'  Tower ; 
and  going  to  Miss  Nightingale  had  something  of  the  magic 
that  in  earlier  days  was  found  in  "  going  to  Mr.  Pitt."  l 

1  See  Kinglake,  vol.  vi.  pp.  43,  436. 



Then  in  such  hour  of  need  .  .  . 

Ye,  like  angels,  appear, 

Radiant  with  ardour  divine  !  .  .  . 

Order,  courage,  return  .  .  . 

Ye  move  through  the  ranks,  recall 

The  stragglers,  refresh  the  outworn, 

Praise,  reinspire  the  brave  ! 

Eyes  rekindling,  and  prayers, 

Follow  your  steps  as  ye  go. 


IN  the  preceding  chapters  we  have  seen  at  work  the  impel- 
ling power  of  a  brain  and  a  will ;  but,  with  these,  Florence 
Nightingale  brought  to  her  mission  the  tenderness  of  a 
woman's  heart.  She  was  the  matron  of  a  hospital  no  less 
than  the  mistress  of  a  barrack.  She  was  a  resolute  admini- 
strator ;  but  also,  as  was  said  at  the  time  in  a  hundred 
speeches,  letters,  articles : 

When  pain  and  anguish  wring  the  brow, 
A  ministering  angel  thou. 

Upon  those  behind  the  scenes,  upon  ministers  and  officials, 
it  was  the  former  side  of  her  activity  that  made  the  pro- 
founder  impression.  Some  of  them  applauded  what  she 
did,  recognizing  that  only  the  advent  of  a  new  force  could 
have  driven  a  way  through  the  quagmire  ;  others  complained 
that  in  her  methods  there  was  something  too  imperious  and 
masterful ;  all  alike  perceived  her  power  and  strength  of  will. 
But  to  the  sick  and  wounded  among  whom  she  lived  and 
moved,  and  to  the  great  public  at  home  which  heard  of  her 
work,  it  was  the  softer  side  of  her  character  that  made  the 



more  instant  appeal.  By  them  she  was  known  and  honoured 
not  as  the  rigid  disciplinarian  or  creative  organizer,  but  as 
the  compassionate  and  tender  nurse.  Those  who  had  no 
means  of  knowing  what  other  work  she  had  to  do  supposed 
that  ministration  to  the  sick,  in  the  narrower  sense,  com- 
prised it  all.  But,  in  fact,  as  she  wrote  to  Mr.  Herbert 
(Jan.  14,  1855),  nursing  was  "  the  least  important  of  the 
functions  into  which  she  had  been  forced  "  ;  and  those  on  the 
spot,  who  watched  the  arduousness  of  these  other  duties, 
wished  that  she  could  be  persuaded  to  spare  herself  more  of 
one  kind  of  work  or  of  the  other.  The  marvel  is  that  in 
unstinted  measure  she  combined  them  both. 

Her  devotion  and  her  power  of  work  were  prodigious. 
"  I  work  in  the  wards  all  day,"  she  said,  "  and  write  all 
night " ;  and  this  was  hardly  exaggeration.  A  letter 
from  Miss  Stanley  (Dec.  21,  1854)  gives  an  interesting 
glimpse  of  Florence  Nightingale  at  work  in  the  Barrack 
Hospital : — 

We  turned  up  the  stone  stairs  ;  on  the  second  floor  we  came 
to  the  corridors  of  sick,  on  low  wooden  stands,  raised  about  a 
foot  from  the  floor,  placed  about  2  feet  apart,  and  leaving  2  or 
3  feet  down  the  middle,  along  which  we  walked.  The  atmosphere 
worsened  as  we  advanced.  We  passed  down  two  or  three  of 
these  immense  corridors,  asking  our  way  as  we  went.  At  last  we 
came  to  the  guard-room,  another  corridor,  then  through  a  door 
into  a  large  busy  kitchen,  where  stood  Mrs.  Margaret  Williams, 
who  seemed  much  pleased  to  see  me  :  then  a  heavy  curtain  was 
raised  1 ;  I  went  through  a  door,  and  there  sat  dear  Flo  writing 
on  a  small  unpainted  deal  table.  I  never  saw  her  looking  better. 
She  had  on  her  black  merino,  trimmed  with  black  velvet,  clean 
linen  collar  and  cuffs,  apron,  white  cap  with  a  black  handkerchief 
tied  over  it ;  and  there  was  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  looking  so  nice 
too.  I  was  quite  satisfied  with  my  welcome.  ...  A  stream  of 
people  every  minute.  "  Please,  ma'am,  have  you  any  black- 
edged  paper  ?  "  "  Please,  what  can  I  give  which  would  keep  on 
his  stomach  ;  is  there  any  arrowroot  to-day  for  him  ?  "  "  No ; 
the  tubs  of  arrowroot  must  be  for  the  worst  cases  ;  we  cannot 
spare  him  any,  nor  is  there  any  jelly  to-day  ;  try  him  with  some 
eggs."  "  Please,  Mr.  Gordon  [the  Chief  Engineer]  wishes  to  see 

1  Miss  Nightingale's  camp  bedstead  was  at  this  time  behind  a  screen 
in  the  kitchen,  for  she  had  given  up  her  room  to  the  widow  of  an  officer. 


Miss  Nightingale  about  the  orders  she  gave  him."  Mr.  Sabin 
comes  in  for  something  else.  Mr.  Bracebridge  in  and  out  about 
General  Adams,1  and  orders  of  various  kinds.2 

The  occasion  described  by  Miss  Stanley  was  post-day. 
Still  busier  were  the  awful  days  on  which  fresh  consignments 
of  sick  and  wounded  arrived  from  the  Crimea.  Miss  Nightin- 
gale has  been  known,  said  General  Bentinck,  to  pass  eight 
hours  on  her  knees  dressing  wounds  and  administering 
comfort.  There  were  times  when  she  stood  for  twenty 
hours  at  a  stretch,  apportioning  quarters,  distributing 
stores,  directing  the  labours  of  her  staff,  or  assisting  at  the 
painful  operations  where  her  presence  might  soothe  or 
support.  She  had,  said  Mr.  Osborne,  "  an  utter  dis- 
regard of  contagion.  I  have  known  her  spend  hours  over 
men  dying  of  cholera  or  fever.  The  more  awful  to  every 
sense,  any  particular  case,  especially  if  it  was  that  of  a  dying 
man,  the  more  certainly  might  her  slight  form  be  seen  bend- 
ing over  him,  administering  to  his  ease  by  every  means  in 
her  power,  and  seldom  quitting  his  side  till  death  released 
him."  3  "  We  cannot,"  wrote  Mr.  Bracebridge  to  her  uncle, 
Mr.  Smith  (Dec.  18,  1854),  "prevent  her  self-sacrifice  for 
the  dying.  She  cannot  delegate  as  we  could  wish  ;  but 
the  cases  are  so  interesting  and  painful ;  who  could  leave 
them  when  once  taken  up  ? — boys  and  brave  men  dying 
who  can  be  saved  by  nursing  and  proper  diet."  It  is 
recorded  that  on  one  occasion  she  saw  five  soldiers  set 
aside  as  hopeless  cases.  The  first  duty  of  the  overworked 
surgeons  was  with  those  whom  there  seemed  to  be  more  hope 
of  saving.  She  asked  to  be  given  the  care  of  the  five  men, 
and  the  surgeons  consented.  Assisted  by  one  of  her  nurses, 
she  tended  the  cases  throughout  the  night,  administering 
nourishment  from  her  stores,  and  in  the  morning  they  were 
found  to  be  in  a  fit  condition  for  surgical  treatment.4 
"  Miss  Nightingale,"  said  a  Chelsea  pensioner,  in  recalling 
his  experiences  at  Scutari,  "  was  always  coming  in  and  out. 
She  used  to  attend  to  all  the  worst  cases  herself.  Some  of 
the  new  men  were  a  bit  shy  at  first,  but  many  a  time  I've 

1  He  had  died  in  hospital  from  his  wounds,  and  his  body  was  to  be 
sent  to  England.  2  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  p.  373. 

8  Scutari  and  its  Hospitals,  p.  26.  4  Daily  News,  June  2,  1855. 


heard  her  say,  '  Never  be  ashamed  of  your  wounds,  my 
friend.'  "  *  "I  believe,"  wrote  a  Civilian  doctor  who  saw  her 
at  work,  "  that  there  was  never  a  severe  case  of  any  kind  that 
escaped  her  notice,  and  sometimes  it  was  wonderful  to  see  her 
at  the  bedside  of  a  patient  who  had  been  admitted  perhaps 
but  an  hour  before,  and  of  whose  arrival  one  would  hardly 
have  supposed  it  possible  she  could  be  already  cognisant."  2 
Sometimes  when  exhausted  nature  could  not  be  denied 
repose,  she  would  depute  the  last  sad  office  to  another  lady. 
"  Selina  [Mrs.  Bracebridge]  is  sitting  up  with  a  dying  man. 
Florence  at  last  asleep,  i  A.M."  Her  days  were  always  long  ; 
for  she  deemed  it  well  not  to  allow  any  of  her  nurses  to  be  in 
the  wards  after  eight  at  night.  And  often,  when  all  else  was 
quiet,  and  she  had  been  sitting  up  to  finish  her  heavy  corre- 
spondence, she  would  make  a  final  tour  of  the  wards.  A 
lady  volunteer,  who  two  days  after  her  arrival  was  sent  for  to 
accompany  Miss  Nightingale  on  such  a  tour,  recalled  the 
scene.  "  We  went  round  the  whole  of  the  second  story,  into 
many  of  the  wards  and  into  one  of  the  upper  corridors.  It 
seemed  an  endless  walk,  and  it  was  one  not  easily  forgotten. 
As  we  slowly  passed  along,  the  silence  was  profound  ;  very 
seldom  did  a  moan  or  cry  from  those  deeply  suffering  ones 
fall  on  our  ears.  A  dim  light  burned  here  and  there.  Miss 
Nightingale  carried  her  lantern,  which  'she  would  set  down 
before  she  bent  over  any  of  the  patients.  I  much  admired 
her  manner  to  the  men — it  was  so  tender  and  kind."  3  The 
description  of  these  midnight  vigils,  given  by  Mr.  Macdonald, 
the  commissioner  of  the  Times  Fund,  became  famous,  by 
adaptation,  throughout  the  world  : — 

Wherever  there  is  disease  in  its  most  dangerous  form  and 
the  hand  of  the  despoiler  distressingly  nigh,  there  is  that  incom- 
parable woman  sure  to  be  seen.  Her  benignant  presence  is  an 
influence  for  good  comfort,  even  amid  the  struggles  of  expiring 
nature.  She  is  a  "  ministering  angel  "  without  any  exaggeration 
in  these  hospitals,  and  as  her  slender  form  glides  quietly  along 
each  corridor,  every  poor  fellow's  face  softens  with  gratitude 
at  the  sight  of  her.  When  all  the  medical  officers  have  retired 

1  Wintle,  p.  113. 

2  Pincoffs,  p.  78,  where  a  particular  case  in  point  is  recorded. 
3  Eastern  Hospitals,  vol.  i.  pp.  69-70. 


for  the  night  and  silence  and  darkness  have  settled  down  upon 
those  miles  of  prostrate  sick,  she  may  be  observed  alone,  with 
a  little  lamp  in  her  hand,1  making  her  solitary  rounds. 

Famous,  too,  became  the  words  which  one  poor  fellow 
sent  home.  "  What  a  comfort  it  was  to  see  her  pass  even. 
She  would  speak  to  one  and  nod  and  smile  to  as  many 
more  ;  but  she  could  not  do  it  to  all,  you  know.  We  lay 
there  by  hundreds ;  but  we  could  kiss  her  shadow  as  it 
fell,  and  lay  our  heads  on  the  pillow  again,  content/' 
"  Before  she  came/'  said  another  soldier's  letter,  "  there 
was  cussin'  and  swearin',  but  after  that  it  was  holy  as  a 
church/'  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  read  out  these  letters  at  a 
public  meeting  in  November  1855. 2  Lord  Ellesmere  used 
Mr.  Macdonald's  description  in  the  House  of  Lords  in  May 
i856.3  And  Longfellow,  in  the  following  year,  made  a 
poem  of  it  all,  one  of  the  most  widely  known  poems,  I 
suppose,  that  have  ever  been  written  :— 

Lo  !  in  that  hour  of  misery 
A  lady  with  a  lamp  I  see 

Pass  through  the  glimmering  gloom, 

And  flit  from  room  to  room. 
And  slow,  as  in  a  dream  of  bliss, 
The  speechless  sufferer  turns  to  kiss 

Her  shadow,  as  it  falls 

Upon  the  darkening  walls. 

The  men  idolized  her.  They  kissed  her  shadow,  and  they 
saluted  her  as  she  passed  down  their  wounded  ranks.  "  If 
the  Queen  came  for  to  die,"  said  a  soldier  who  lost  a  leg  at 
the  Alma,  "  they  ought  to  make  her  queen,  and  I  think  they 
would/'  Her  lively  sense  of  humour,  which  Mr.  Osborne 
had  discerned  in  talks  with  her  in  the  hospital,  was  appreci- 
ated also  by  the  patients.  "  She  was  wonderful,"  said  one, 
"  at  cheering  up  any  one  who  was  a  bit  low,"  "  She  was  all 
full  of  life  and  fun,"  said  another,  "  when  she  talked  to  us, 
especially  if  a  man  was  a  bit  down-hearted."  4  Who  can 
tell  what  comfort  was  brought  by  the  sound  of  a  woman's 
gentle  voice,  the  touch  of  a  woman's  gentle  hand,  to  many 

1  The  lamp  of  famous  memory  was  a  camp  lamp,  and  was  taken 
possession  of  by  Mrs.  Bracebridge. 

2  Below,  p.  270.  3  Below,  p.  303.  4  Wintle,  pp.  106,  108. 

238        THE  MEN  AND  THE  LADY-IN-CHIEF       PT.  n 

a  poor  fellow  racked  by  fever,  or  smarting  from  sores  ?  And 
who  can  say  how  often  her  presence  may  have  been  as  "  a 
cup  of  strength  in  some  great  agony  "  ?  "  The  magic  of 
her  power  over  men  was  felt,"  as  Kinglake  has  described, 
"  in  the  room — the  dreaded,  the  blood-stained  room — where 
operations  took  place.  There  perhaps  the  maimed  soldier, 
if  not  yet  resigned  to  his  fate,  might  at  first  be  craving 
death  rather  than  meet  the  knife  of  the  surgeon  ;  but, 
when  such  a  one  looked  and  saw  that  the  honoured  Lady- 
in-Chief  was  patiently  standing  beside  him,  and — with 
lips  closely  set  and  hands  folded — decreeing  herself  to  go 
through  the  pain  of  witnessing  pain,  he  used  to  fall  into  the 
mood  for  obeying  her  silent  command,  and — finding  strange 
support  in  her  presence — bring  himself  to  submit  and  en- 
dure." 1  And  when  the  hour  of  death  came,  how  often  must 
the  passing  have  been  soothed  by  a  presence  which,  with 
words  of  womanly  comfort,  may  have  carried  the  soldier's 
last  thoughts  back  to  home  and  wife,  or  child  ?  A  member 
of  Parliament,  well  known  in  London  Society,  Mr.  Augustus 
Stafford,  went  out  during  the  recess  of  1854  to  Scutari,  and 
made  himself  very  useful  to  Miss  Nightingale.  "  He  says," 
wrote  Monckton  Milnes  (Jan.  1855),  "  that  Florence  in  the 
Hospital  makes  intelligible  to  him  the  Saints  of  the  Middle 
Ages.  If  the  soldiers  were  told  that  the  roof  had  opened, 
and  she  had  gone  up  palpably  to  Heaven,  they  would  not  be 
the  least  surprised.  They  quite  believe  she  is  in  several 
places  at  once."  2  They  were  impressed  by  her  power,  no 
less  than  they  were  touched  by  her  tenderness,  and  ascribed 
to  the  Lady-in-Chief  the  gifts  of  leadership  in  the  field. 
"  If  she  were  at  their  head,  they  would  be  in  Sebastopol  in  a 
week  ; "  was  a  saying  often  heard  in  the  hospital  wards. 


Of  all  the  documents  that  have  passed  under  my  eyes 
in  writing  this  memoir,  none  have  touched  me  more  than  a 
bundle  of  letters  to  and  from  friends  and  relatives  of  Crimean 
soldiers.  Miss  Nightingale  was  careful  to  take  note  of  any 

1  Invasion  of  the  Crimea,  vol.  vi.  p.  425. 
*  Life  of  Lord  Houghton,  vol.  i.  p.  505. 


dying  man's  last  wishes  or  messages,  and  the  letters  in  which 
she  forwarded  these,  to  wife  or  mother,  must,  by  their  touch 
of  womanly  sympathy,  have  brought  balm  to  many  a 
stricken  heart.  "  My  dear  Miss,"  writes  one  mother,  "  I 
feel  the  loss  of  my  poor  son's  death  very  keenly,  but  if 
anything  could  help  my  grief  it  is  the  thought  that  he  was 
looked  to  and  cared  for  by  kind  friends  when  so  many  miles 
away  from  his  native  land."  "  I  beg,"  writes  a  sister,  "  to 
return  you  my  grateful  thanks  for  all  your  kindness  to  my 
poor  dear  brother  and  for  writing  to  tell  me  of  his  death. 
It  is  great  consolation  to  know  that  both  his  soul  and  body 
were  so  kindly  cared  for."  "  I  can  assure  you,"  writes 
another,  "  that  you  are  beloved  by  every  poor  soldier  I 
have  seen."  Correspondence  of  this  kind  continued  in  the 
same  manner  when  Miss  Nightingale  passed  on  from  Scutari 
to  the  Crimea.  One  letter  to  a  bereaved  mother  may  be 
given  as  a  representative  of  many  : — 

"...  The  first  time  I  saw  your  son  was  in  going  round  the 
wards  in  the  General  Hospital  at  Balaklava.  He  had  been 
brought  in,  in  the  morning.  ...  He  was  always  conscious,  and 
remained  so  till  the  very  last.  He  prayed  aloud  so  beautifully 
that,  as  the  Nurse  in  charge  said,  "  It  was  like  a  sermon  to  hear 
him."  He  asked  "  to  see  Miss  Nightingale."  He  knew  me,  and 
expressed  himself  to  me  as  entirely  resigned  to  die.  He  pressed 
my  hand  when  he  could  not  speak.  He  died  in  the  night.  .  .  . 
He  was  decently  interred  in  a  burial-ground  we  have  about  a  mile 
from  Balaklava.  One  of  my  own  Sisters  lies  in  the  same  ground, 
to  whom  I  have  erected  a  monument.  Should  you  wish  anything 
similar  to  be  done  over  the  grave  of  your  lost  son,  I  will  endeavour 
to  gratify  you,  if  you  will  inform  me  of  your  wishes.  With  true 
sympathy  for  your  loss,  I  remain,  dear  Madam,  yours  sincerely, 


There  is  another  bundle,  hardly  less  touching,  which 
contains  letters  of  anxious  inquiry  addressed  to  Miss  Nightin- 
gale from  all  parts  of  the  United  Kingdom,  begging  her  to 
send,  if  she  can,  particulars  of  the  whereabouts  or  of  the 
illness  or  of  the  last  hours  of  husband,  brother,  father,  or  son. 
"  In  order  that  you  may  know  him,"  writes  one  fond  mother, 
"he  is  a  straight,  nice,  clean-looking,  light-complexioned 
youth."  "  Died  in  hospital,  in  good  frame  of  mind,"  was 
Miss  Nightingale's  docket  for  the  reply.  Every  letter  was 


carefully  answered,  and  every  message  was,  I  doubt  not, 
given  whenever  it  was  in  her  power  to  do  so.  Many  are  the 
blessings  invoked  on  Miss  Nightingale's  head.  Often  the 
writer  begins  by  explaining  that  the  newspapers  have  told 
of  her  great  kindness  and  so  she  will  forgive  the  intrusion. 
Others  show  that  they  take  all  that  for  granted  by  beginning, 
"  Dear  Friend,"  or  ending,  "  Yours  affectionately."  Many 
wives  beg  her  to  let  the  soldier  know  that  the  children  are 
well  and  happy.  And  one  letter  sends  a  message  to  a 
wounded  Lancer  from  the  girl  he  left  behind  him,  "  If  alive, 
please  mention  my  name  to  him." 


The  strain  upon  Miss  Nightingale's  physical  and  mental 
powers  was  incessant.  Her  health,  as  it  proved  in  the  end, 
was  seriously  impaired  ;  but  during  all  her  work  at  Scutari, 
she  was  never  absent  from  her  post.  "  You  had  the  best 
opportunities,"  she  was  asked  by  the  Royal  Commission  of 
1857,  "  for  observing  the  condition  of  the  soldier  when  he 
entered  the  hospitals,  while  he  resided  in  them,  when  he  died 
and  was  sent  to  the  cemeteries,  when  he  was  sent  home  as 
an  invalid,  and  when  he  rejoined  the  army  ?  "  "  Yes,"  she 
answered  ;  "I  was  never  out  of  the  hospitals."  During  the 
worst  time  of  cholera  and  typhus,  three  of  her  nurses  died, 
and  seven  of  the  army  doctors.  Miss  Nightingale  tended 
two  of  the  doctors  in  their  last  moments,  and  the  thinning, 
for  a  while,  of  the  medical  ranks  increased  her  labours. 
The  amount  of  clerical  work  which  devolved  on  her 
was,  it  may  be  well  imagined,  enormous.  Lady  Alicia 
Blackwood  records  that  when  she  was  starting  a  school  in 
the  women's  and  children's  quarters  at  Scutari,  Miss  Nightin- 
gale said  laughingly,  "  Oh,  are  you  really  going  to  do  that 
unkind  thing — to  teach  children  to  write  ?  I  am  so  tired  of 
writing,  I  sometimes  wish  I  could  not  write  !  "  The  laugh 
must  have  had  a  certain  grimness  in  it,  I  fear.  The  extent  of 
the  correspondence  which  Miss  Nightingale  kept  up  with 
Ministers  at  home,  with  military  and  medical  officers  at  the 
seat  of  war  and  at  Scutari,  may  be  gathered  from  the  fore- 
going chapters.  Her  superintendence  of  the  nurses  entailed 


in  account-keeping  and  in  letters  to  complainants  among 
them,  and  to  their  relatives,  another  mass  of  correspondence. 
Then  I  find  next,  amongst  her  papers,  piles  of  store-keeping 
accounts  (mostly  in  her  own  handwriting),  and  other  bundles 
of  correspondence  referring  to  offers  of  help  in  money  or  in 
kind.     That  Miss  Nightingale  ultimately  broke  down  under 
the  strain  was  natural ;  the  marvel  is  that  she  bore  up  against 
it  so  long.     She  could  not  have  coped  with  the  mass  of  detail 
involved  in  her  multifarious  labours  without  a  good  deal 
of  help.      To  Mr.  Macdonald's  assistance  I  have  already 
referred  ;  and  like  assistance  was  rendered  for  a  time  by  the 
Rev.  and  Hon.  Sydney  Godolphin  Osborne,  the  famous  S.G.O. 
of  letters  to  the  Times.     Mr.  Kinglake  devotes  a  charming 
page  to  "  the  enthusiastic  young  fellow  who,  abandoning  his 
life  of  ease,  pleasure,  and  luxury,  went  out,  as  he  probably 
phrased  it,  to  '  fag  '  for  the  Lady-in-Chief."     The  reference 
is  probably  to  Mr.  Percy,  mentioned  in  a  previous  chapter, 
or  possibly  to  Mr.  William  Shore,  a  distant  relative  of  Miss 
Nightingale's  father ;    he  was  put  in  charge  of  a  soldiers' 
library.     But   it  was  Miss  Nightingale's  old  friends,  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  who  rendered  the  longest  and  the 
most    helpful    aid.      Mrs.    Bracebridge    shared    alike   her 
room  and  her  labours,  and  with  Mr.  Bracebridge  cared, 
as  we   have    heard,    for    the    soldiers'    wives.      But    Mr. 
Bracebridge  did  much  else.     His  knowledge  of  the  East,  and 
his  persevering  good  humour,  determined  to  help  everybody 
about  everything,  were  invaluable.     Faithful,  cheery,  and 
indefatigable,  no  less  now  among  the  arduous  labours  of 
Scutari  than  in  former  days  of  sight-seeing  at  Rome  and  in 
Egypt,  he  fetched  and  carried  for  Miss  Nightingale,  wrote 
letters  or  orders  for  her,  and  kept  minutes  of  her  interviews  ; 
and,  at  times  of  less  strain,  relieved  her  of  visitors  or  callers 
by  taking  them  for  excursions  in  the  Straits  or  to  Con- 


Miss  Nightingale's  thoughtfulness  devised  many  practical 
ways  of  helping  the  men  who  were  not  too  ill  to  think 
of  their  worldly  affairs.  In  order  to  encourage  them  as 

VOL,  I  R 


much  as  possible  to  occupy  themselves  and  to  keep  up  a 
communication  with  home,  she  supplied  stationery  and 
postage  stamps  to  those  in  hospital.  If  a  soldier  was 
illiterate  or  too  ill  to  write,  she  or  one  of  her  nurses,  or  some 
other  volunteer,  would  write  at  the  sick  man's  dictation. 
Mr.  Augustus  Stafford,  as  mentioned  above,  spent  some 
portion  of  the  autumn  recess  (Nov.-Dec.  1854)  at  Scutari, 
and  he  gave  his  experiences  to  the  Roebuck  Committee.  He 
described  the  pitiable  condition  of  the  wounded  on  their 
arrival,  "  their  thigh  and  shoulder  bones  perfectly  red  from 
rubbing  against  the  deck  "  of  the  vessel  which  had  brought 
them  from  the  Crimea ;  but  then  Miss  Nightingale's  nurses 
came  round,  "  and  with  a  precision  and  rapidity  which  you 
would  scarcely  believe,  would  bring  the  soldiers  arrowroot 
mixed  with  port  wine,  which  was  the  greatest  comfort ;  the 
men  expressed  themselves  very  thankfully,  and  said  that 
they  felt  themselves  in  heaven."  But  it  was  in  writing 
letters  for  the  soldiers  that  this  "  cherished,  yet  unspoilt, 
favourite  of  English  society  "  l  spent  most  of  his  time  at 
Scutari.  Of  Miss  Nightingale's  reading-rooms  some  account 
will  be  found  in  another  chapter  (XL). 

She  was  much  touched  by  the  men's  appreciation  of 
these  attentions,  and  she  was  no  less  impressed  by  the 
conduct  of  the  orderlies  in  the  hospitals.  In  describing  to 
the  Secretary  of  State  certain  sanitary  reforms  which  she 
carried  out  in  the  hospitals  of  Scutari,  she  wrote  :  "  I  must 
pay  my  tribute  to  the  instinctive  delicacy,  the  ready  atten- 
tion of  orderlies  and  patients  during  all  that  dreadful  period  ; 
for  my  sake  they  performed  offices  of  this  kind  (which  they 
neither  would  for  the  sake  of  discipline,  nor  for  that  of  the 
importance  to  their  own  health,  which  they  did  not  know), 
and  never  was  there  one  word  nor  one  look  which  a  gentle- 
man would  not  have  used  ;  and  while  paying  this  humble 
tribute  to  humble  courtesy,  the  tears  come  into  my  eyes  as 
I  think  how,  amidst  scenes  of  loathsome  disease  and  death, 
there  rose  above  it  all  the  innate  dignity,  gentleness,  and 
chivalry  of  the  men  (for  never,  surely,  was  chivalry  so 
strikingly  exemplified),  shining  in  the  midst  of  what  must 
be  considered  as  the  lowest  sinks  of  human  misery,  and 

1  Kinglake,  p.  436. 

CH.  vii    "  PRESENCE  OF  A  GOOD  DIFFUSED  "       243 

preventing  instinctively  the  use  of  one  expression  which 
could  distress  a  gentlewoman."  1 

Even  in  the  lowest  sinks  of  human  misery  there  are 
chords  which  will  respond  to  a  sympathetic  touch.  It  was 
the  innate  dignity  of  her  bearing  that  struck  every  one 
who  saw  Florence  Nightingale  ;  and,  amidst  those  scenes  of 
loathsome  disease  and  death,  she  was  herself  "  the  sweet 
presence  of  a  good  diffused." 

1  Notes,  p.  94. 



Your  sectarians  of  every  species,  small  and  great,  Catholic  or  Protestant, 
of  high  church  or  low,  .  .  .  these  are  the  true  fog  children. — RUSKIN. 

Whereof  cometh  envy,  strife,  railings,  evil  surmisings,  perverse  dis- 
putings. — ST.  PAUL. 

EVERY  generation  has  its  own  "religious  difficulty,"  by 
which  phrase  is  meant,  not  the  difficulty  which  the  individual 
soul  or  the  collective  soul  of  a  nation  may  find  in  its  religious 
beliefs  themselves,  but  a  difficulty  which  intrudes  itself 
into  allied  or  alien  matters  from  the  sphere  of  religious 
disputation.  In  the  present  day,  the  religious  difficulty 
with  which  we  are  most  familiar  concerns  questions  of  educa- 
tion. In  the  days  of  Miss  Nightingale's  mission  to  the  East 
there  was  a  religious  difficulty  in  questions  of  nursing. 

It  was  not  enough  that  such  a  mission  as  hers  was  con- 
ceived in  the  very  spirit  of  the  Founder  of  Christianity  : 
"  I  was  sick,  and  ye  visited  me."  The  question  was  eagerly 
and  angrily  canvassed  under  which  of  the  rival  Christian 
banners  the  visitation  of  the  sick  soldiers  should  be,  and 
was  being,  carried  on.  The  country  had  at  the  time  hardly 
recovered  its  mental  equilibrium  after  the  shock  administered 
to  it  by  the  Tractarian  movement,  and  echoes  of  the  "  No 
Popery  "  cry  of  1850  were  still  resonant  in  many  quarters. 
The  religious  difficulty  appeared  at  the  very  start  of  Miss 
Nightingale's  Crimean  work,  and  dogged  her  footsteps  to 
the  end  of  it.  I  have  dealt  already  with  the  difficulties 
which  her  experiment  encountered  from  social  ideas,  military 
prejudices,  official  routine ;  but  I  am  not  sure  that  of  all 
her  difficulties  the  religious  one  was  not  the  most  wearing 



and  worrying,  as  it  was  also  assuredly  the  most  unnecessary 
and  the  least  excusable.  It  enveloped  a  noble  undertaking 
in  a  fog  of  envy,  strife,  and  futile  railing. 

Mr.  Sidney  Herbert,  who  was  supposed  to  be  of  the  High 
Church  persuasion,  had  scented  the  difficulty  from  the  first, 
as  we  have  heard,  and  Miss  Nightingale  was  keenly  alive 
to  it.  They  had  desired  to  make  the  first  party  of  nurses 
representative  of  all  the  leading  sects  ;  but  owing  to  the 
abstention  of  a  Protestant  institution,  the  Roman  Catholics 
and  the  High  Church  party  were  in  a  considerable  majority 
among  the  thirty-eight  nurses.  This  fact  gave  the  alarm, 
and  a  sectarian  hue-and-cry  was  immediately  raised.  It 
began,  as  I  am  sorry  to  have  to  say,  in  the  Daily  News  ;  it 
was  taken  up,  as  goes  without  saying,  in  the  so-called  "  re- 
ligious press. "  On  October  28,  1854,  when  Miss  Nightingale 
was  on  her  way  to  Scutari,  an  attack  upon  her  was  given 
great  prominence  in  the  first-named  paper.  It  was  signed 
"  Anti-Puseyite,"  and  it  included  the  text  of  Mr.  Herbert's 
letter  which  had  somehow  or  other  been  obtained.1  "  Miss 
Nightingale  recruited  her  staff  of  nurses  from  Miss  Sellon's 
house  [a  High  Church  one]  and  from  a  Romanist  establish- 
ment/' This  awful  fact  explained  "  the  party  spirit  which 
actuated  the  choice  of  Miss  Nightingale  for  this  important 
and  responsible  office,  and  which  set  aside  Lady  Maria 
Forester  " — a  lady,  it  seems,  of  Evangelical  principles.  It 
was  not  yet  too  late  to  remedy  the  offence  "  if  the  feeling 
of  the  nation  be  at  once  aroused  and  expressed."  "  A 
Reader  of  the  Bible  "  and  other  correspondents  followed, 
and  the  controversy  raged  furiously.  Mrs.  Sidney  Herbert's 
intervention,  with  an  assurance  that  Miss  Nightingale  was 
somewhat  Low  Church,  did  not  stop  it.  S.  G.  O.  referred 
to  it  in  his  book.  "  I  have  heard  and  read,"  he  wrote, 
"  with  indignation  the  remarks  hazarded  upon  her  religious 
character.  Her  works  ought  to  answer  for  her  faith.  If 
there  is  blame  in  looking  for  a  Roman  Catholic  priest  to 
attend  a  dying  Romanist,  let  me  share  it  with  her — I  did 
it  again  and  again." 2  An  admirable  avowal,  but  not 
calculated,  I  fear,  to  allay  the  anger  of  "No  Popery  " 
fanatics.  The  publication  of  Queen  Victoria's  letter  of 

1  See  above,  p.  154  n.  2  Scutari  and  its  Hospitals,  p.  26. 


December  6  (p.  215),  showing  the  confidence  which  Her 
Majesty  placed  in  Miss  Nightingale,  did  something  to  stem 
the  tide,  but  for  many  months  the  feud  flowed  on  in  the 


Miss  Nightingale's  comment,  when  echoes  of  the  storm 
reached  her  on  the  Bosphorus,  was  characteristic.  "  They 
tell  me,"  she  wrote  to  Mr.  Herbert  (Jan.  28,  1855),  "  that 
there  is  a  religious  war  about  poor  me  in  the  Times,  and  that 
Mrs.  Herbert  has  generously  defended  me.  I  do  not  know 
what  I  have  done  to  be  so  dragged  before  the  Public.  But  I 
am  so  glad  that  my  God  is  not  the  God  of  the  High  Church 
or  of  the  Low,  that  He  is  not  a  Romanist  or  an  Anglican — 
or  a  Unitarian.  I  don't  believe  He  is  even  a  Russian, 
though  His  events  go  strangely  against  us.  (N.B. — A 
Greek  once  said  to  me  at  Salamis, '  I  do  believe  God  Almighty 
is  an  Englishman.')  "  Excellent,  too,  was  the  answer  given 
by  an  Irish  clergyman  when  asked  to  what  sect  Miss  Nightin- 
gale belonged.  "  She  belongs  to  a  sect  which,  unfortunately, 
is  a  very  rare  one — the  sect  of  the  Good  Samaritan."  Miss 
Nightingale  was  by  descent  a  Unitarian,  by  practice  a  com- 
municant of  the  Church  of  England ;  but  she  was  addicted 
neither  to  High  Church  nor  to  Low.  Her  God  was  the  God 
of  Moral  Law,  a  God  of  infinite  pity  and  benevolence,  but 
also  One  who  worked  out  His  purpose  by  the  free  will  of 
human  instruments.  Her  service  of  God  was  the  service  of 
Man,  and  her  service  of  Man  mingled  efficiency  with  tender- 
ness. She  applied  only  one  kind  of  test  to  a  nurse  :  Was  she 
a  good  woman,  and  did  she  know  her  business  ?  To  be  a 
good  woman,  a  religious  woman,  a  noble  woman  was  not  in 
itself  sufficient.  "  Excellent,  gentle,  self -devoted  women," 
Miss  Nightingale  said  in  a  note  upon  some  of  her  staff,  "  fit 
more  for  Heaven  than  for  a  Hospital,  they  flit  about  like 
angels  without  hands  among  the  patients,  and  soothe  their 
souls,  while  they  leave  their  bodies  dirty  and  neglected. 
They  never  complain,  they  are  eager  for  self -mortification. 
But  I  came  not  to  mortify  the  nurses,  but  to  nurse  the 
wounded."  Therefore  if  a  nurse  was  a  good  woman  and 
knew  her  business,  it  was  nothing  that  she  was  Romanist, 


Anglican,  High  Church,  Low  Church,  or  Unitarian.  If  she 
was  not  a  good  nurse,  the  fact  that  she  belonged,  or  did  not 
belong,  to  this  or  that  persuasion  was  no  recommendation. 
Miss  Nightingale  was,  it  is  true,  desirous  from  the  first  to 
include  Roman  Catholics  in  her  staff,  and  she  did  so,  in  spite 
of  many  difficulties,  to  the  end.  But  her  reasons  therein 
were  practical,  not  sectarian.  In  the  first  place,  many  of 
the  soldiers  were  Roman  Catholics  ;  and,  secondly,  her 
apprenticeship  in  nursing  had  shown  her  the  excellent 
qualities,  as  nurses,  of  many  Catholic  Sisters.  But  here 
efficiency  was  the  test,  and  a  Protestant  Deaconess  from 
Kaiserswerth  was  all  one  to  her  with  a  Sister  from  "  a 
Romanist  establishment."  And  one  practical  advantage  of 
vowed  Sisters  was  that  she  did  not  lose  them  from  marriage. 
One  morning  six  nurses  came  in  to  Miss  Nightingale,  declar- 
ing that  they  one  and  all  wished  to  be  married.  They  were 
followed  by  six  soldiers — sergeants  and  corporals — declaring 
their  desire  to  claim  the  nurses  as  brides.  This  matrimonial 
deluge  carried  off  six  of  her  best  nurses.1 


Such,  then,  was  Miss  Nightingale's  position  ;  and  one  can 
understand  the  amused  contempt  with  which  she  heard  of 
the  picture  drawn  of  her  in  certain  quarters  as  a  conspirator 
in  a  Tract arian  or  Romanist  plot.  But  she  was  a  practical 
person,  and,  though  herself  broad-minded,  took  stock  of  a 
narrower  world  as  she  found  it.  She  was  intensely  desirous 
of  making  her  experiment  of  woman  nurses  a  success,  and 
she  felt  acutely  the  danger  of  wrecking  it  by  even  the  sus- 
picion of  sectarian  prejudice.  This  fact  supplies  a  further 
explanation  of  the  alarm  with  which  she  received  the  coming 
of  the  second  party  of  nurses  under  Miss  Stanley.2  It 
included  a  batch  of  fifteen  nuns.  "  The  proportion  of  R. 
Catholics,"  she  wrote  to  Mr.  Herbert,  "  which  is  already 
making  an  outcry,  you  have  increased  to  25  in  84.  Mr. 
Menzies  [the  Principal  Medical  Officer]  has  declared  that  he 
will  have  two  only  at  the  General  Hospital,  and  I  cannot 
place  them  here  [in  the  Barrack  Hospital]  in  a  greater 
1  Blackwood,  p.  232.  z  See  above,  p.  192. 

248  A  TEMPEST  IN  A  PINT  POT  PT.  n 

proportion  than  I  have  done,  without  exciting  the  suspicion 
of  the  Medical  Men  and  others."  The  difficulty  was  ulti- 
mately adjusted,  but  only  at  the  cost  of  infinite  trouble  and 
worry  to  Miss  Nightingale.  Her  letters  to  Mr.  Herbert  are 
full  of  references  to  the  subject,  some  of  them  very  amusing, 
and  perhaps  it  was  her  lively  sense  of  humour  that  helped 
to  carry  her  through  this  religious  difficulty.  "  Such  a 
tempest,"  she  wrote  (Dec.  25,  1854),  "  nas  been  brewed  in 
this  little  pint  pot  as  you  could  have  no  idea  of.  But  I, 
like  the  Ass,  have  put  on  the  Lion's  skin,  and  when  once  I 
have  done  that  (poor  me,  who  never  affronted  any  one 
before) ,  I  can  bray  so  loud  that  I  shall  be  heard,  I  am  afraid, 
as  far  as  England.  However,  this  is  no  place  for  lions  ; 
and  as  for  asses,  we  have  enough."  One  proposition 
made  to  her  was  that,  as  the  doctors  did  not  want  many 
more  woman  nurses,  "  ten  of  the  Protestants  should  be 
appropriated  as  clerical  females  by  the  chaplains,  and 
ten  of  the  nuns  by  the  priests,  not  as  nurses,  but  as  female 
ecclesiastics.  With  this  of  course  I  have  nothing  to  do. 
It  being  directly  at  variance  with  my  instructions,  I  can- 
not of  course  appropriate  the  Government  money  to  such 
a  purpose."  Miss  Nightingale's  own  proposition  was  to 
allocate  the  party  in  various  proportions  to  various  hospitals  ; 
but  the  Superior  of  the  new  set  of  nuns  objected  that  "  it 
would  be  uncanonical  "  for  any  of  her  party  to  be  separated 
from  her.  Then  Miss  Nightingale  proposed  sending  some 
of  the  nuns,  either  of  the  first  or  of  the  second  batch,  back 
to  England  ;  but  Father  Cuffe  said  that  to  send  them  away 
would  be  "  like  the  driving  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  through  the 
desert  by  Herod."  "  I  believe  it  may  be  proved  as  a  logical 
proposition,"  wrote  Miss  Nightingale  in  the  midst  of  her  re- 
ligious difficulty,  "  that  it  is  impossible  for  me  to  ride  through 
all  this  ;  my  caique  is  upset,  but  I  am  sticking  on  the  bottom 
still."  Three  days  later  she  still  despaired.  "  The  fifteen 
New  Nuns  are  leading  me  the  devil  of  a  life,  trying  to  get  in 
vi  et  armis,  and  will  upset  the  coach ;  there  is  little  doubt  of 
that."  However,  she  held  her  ground.  She  had  started  with 
a  Protestant  howl  at  her  ;  she  was  now  prepared  to  face  "  a 
Roman  Catholic  storm."  Happily  the  Reverend  Mother 
of  the  first  party  of  nuns  was  on  her  side,  and  strove  to 

CH.  vni  "  INTRIGUETTES "  249 

compose  the  canonical  difficulty.  To  another  Reverend 
Mother,  who  was  less  peaceably  minded,  Miss  Nightingale 
often  referred  in  her  letters  as  "  the  Reverend  Brickbat. " 
In  any  case,  Miss  Nightingale  was  resolved,  as  she  wrote, 
"  not  to  let  our  little  Society  become  a  hot-bed  of  Roman 
Catholic  Intriguettes."  Ultimately  it  was  arranged  that 
five  of  the  second  party  of  nuns  should  go  to  the  General 
Hospital,  and  ten  to  the  newly  opened  hospital  at  Koulali. 
Miss  Nightingale  suspected  some  of  the  second  party  of  a 
desire  to  proselytize  ;  and  presently  she  had  to  inform  Mr. 
Herbert  (Feb.  15,  1855)  of  "  a  charge  of  converting  and 
rebaptizing  before  death,  reported  to  me  by  the  Senior  Chap- 
lain, by  him  to  the  Commandant,  by  him  to  the  Commander- 
in-Chief."  She  promptly  exchanged  the  suspected  nun. 

The  ingenuity  of  theological  rancour  was  infinite. 
Having  caught  wind  of  the  fact  that  there  was  some  differ- 
ence of  view  among  the  Roman  Catholic  Sisters,  an  Evan- 
gelical writer  sought  to  fan  the  flame  by  denouncing  the 
absurdity  of  "  Catholic  Nuns  transferring  their  allegiance 
from  the  Pope  of  Rome  to  a  Protestant  Lady/'  One  of 
the  Sisters,  on  hearing  of  this  diatribe,  playfully  addressed 
Miss  Nightingale  as  "  Your  Holiness,"  who  in  turn  dubbed 
the  Sister  "  her  Cardinal."  l  I  hereby  give  notice,  in  case 
Crimean  letters  from  Miss  Nightingale  should  chance  to  be 
printed  (such  as  I  have  seen)  in  which  she  says,  "I  do  so 
want  my  Cardinal,"  that  the  expression  signifies  no  dark  and 
secret  adhesion  to  any  Prince  of  the  Roman  Church,  but 
only  a  desire  for  the  services  of  a  particularly  efficient 
nursing  Sister.  If  a  nurse  was  efficient,  Miss  Nightingale 
was  on  the  friendliest  terms  with  her,  equally  whether  the 
nurse  were  Catholic  or  Protestant.  Miss  Nightingale  herself 
was  accused  successively,  and  with  equal  absurdity  in  each 
case,  of  being  prejudiced  for,  or  against,  Catholics  and 
Protestants,  and  of  being  inimical  to  religious  ministrations 
altogether.2  The  Protestant  charges  of  proselytizing  by 
Catholic  nurses  were  of  course  met  by  counter-charges  of 
attempts  by  Protestant  nurses  to  convert  Roman  Catholic 

1  Grant,  p.  165. 

2  See  the  Autobiography  of  a  Balaclava  Nurse  (a  Welshwoman),  vol.  ii. 
p.  146. 


patients  ;  and  finally  a  chaplain  solemnly  appealed  to  the 
War  Department  in  London  to  remove  one  of  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's staff  on  the  ground  that  the  nurse  had  been  heard 
to  avow  herself  a  Socinian.  Miss  Nightingale  protested 
successfully  against  any  such  disciplinary  measure,  urging 
that  the  lady,  whether  Socinian  or  not,  was  an  excellent 
nurse.  Much  of  all  this  perverse  disputing  was  born  of 
sheer  ignorance  and  intolerance.  One  of  Miss  Stanley's 
ladies  was  accused  by  a  certain  chaplain  of  "  circulating 
improper  books  in  the  wards."  Particulars  were  asked,  and 
it  was  found  that  the  offending  book  was  Keble's  Christian 

No  sooner  was  any  one  phase  of  the  religious  difficulty 
adjusted  than  another  appeared.  There  were  Anglicans 
and  Roman  Catholics  among  the  Nightingale  nurses,  and 
there  were  others  selected  from  English  hospitals,  who,  so 
far  as  their  religious  views  were  concerned,  might  be  any- 
thing or  nothing.  But  why,  it  was  asked,  were  there  no 
Presbyterians  ?  Representations  were  made  to  the  War 
Office.  "  I  object,"  wrote  Miss  Nightingale  (Feb.  19,  1855), 
"  to  the  principle  of  sending  out  any  one,  qua  sectarian,  not 
qua  nurse.  But  this  having  already  been  done  in  the  case 
of  the  R.C.'s,  etc.,  I  do  not  see  how  the  Presbyterians  can 
be  refused.  And  therefore  let  six  trained  nurses  be  sent  out, 
if  you  think  fit,  of  whom  let  two-thirds  be  Presbyterians. 
But  I  must  bar  these  fat  drunken  old  dames.  Above  14 
stone  we  will  not  have ;  the  provision  of  bedsteads  is  not 
strong  enough.  Three  were  nearly  swamped  in  a  caique, 
whom  Mr.  Bracebridge  was  conducting  to  the  ship,  and, 
had  he  not  walked  with  the  fear  of  the  police  before  his 
eyes,  he  might  easily  have  swamped  them  whole."  The 
stout  old  dames  were  not  Presbyterians  ;  but,  sad  to  relate, 
two  of  the  Presbyterian  party  did  turn  out  to  be  over-fond 
of  drink,  and  Miss  Nightingale  had  to  return  them  to  Eng- 

1  Life  and  Letters  of  Dean  Stanley,  vol.  i.  p.  492.  There  is  a  curious 
echo  of  "  the  Religious  Difficulty  "  in  PurcelTs  Life  of  Manning  (vol.  ii. 
p.  53,  ist  ed.),  where  a  letter  of  Feb.  13,  1856,  will  be  found  from  Manning 
to  Cardinal  Wiseman,  discussing  whether  Roman  Catholic  chaplains  should 
or  should  not  encourage  collections  for  the  Nightingale  Fund.  The  solu- 
tion suggested  was  "  to  let  the  collection  be  passively  made  without  any 
ecclesiastical  recognition  of  it." 


land.     I  regret  to  say  that  there  were  similar  cases,  not 
amongst  the  Presbyterians. 

The  charges  and  counter-charges  of  proselytism  were 
referred  by  the  chaplains  to  the  Secretary  of  State.  Lord 
Panmure,  in  reply  (April  27,  1855),  had  "  to  say  in  the  first 
place,  that  he  has  perused  the  correspondence  with  great 
regret,  and  that  he  deeply  laments  to  find  that  religious 
differences  have  arisen  to  such  an  extent  as  to  mar  the 
united  energies  and  labours  of  those  who  are  devoting 
themselves  with  such  disinterestedness  and  heroic  courage 
and  success  to  the  relief  of  the  sick  and  wounded."  The 
Minister  then  proceeded  to  promulgate  instructions  designed 
to  prevent  any  proselytism  by  the  nurses  and  Sisters. 
Unfortunately,  his  dispatch  was  so  worded  as  to  make 
things,  from  Miss  Nightingale's  point  of  view,  no  better, 
but  rather  worse.  "  The  instructions,"  she  wrote  to  Lady 
Canning  (Sept.  9,  1855),  "have  been  so  completely  mis- 
understood that  they  have  been  my  principal  difficulty. 
The  R.C.'s  who  before  were  quite  amenable  have  chosen  to 
construe  the  rule  that  they  '  are  not  to  enter  upon  the  dis- 
cussion of  religious  subjects  with  any  patients  other  than 
those  of  their  own  faith/  to  mean  therefore  with  all  of 
their  own  faith,  and  the  second  party  of  nuns  who  came  out 
now  wander  over  the  whole  Hospital  out  of  nursing  hours, 
not  confining  themselves  to  their  own  wards,  nor  even  to 
patients,  but  '  instructing '  (it  is  their  own  word)  groups 
of  Orderlies  and  Convalescents  in  the  corridors,  doing  the 
work  each  of  ten  chaplains,  and  bringing  ridicule  upon  the 
whole  thing,  while  they  quote  the  words  of  the  War  Office." 
Lady  Canning,  who  was  at  this  time  acting  as  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's agent  for  the  enlistment  of  nurses,  had  proposed 
to  embody  Lord  Panmure' s  instructions  in  the  printed 
Rules  and  Regulations.  Miss  Nightingale  begged  her  to  do 
no  such  thing.  I  doubt  not  that  Miss  Nightingale's  own 
verbal  instructions  were  less  ambiguous.  She  was  one  who 
never  failed  to  say  exactly  what  she  meant. 



A  great  obstacle  with  which  Miss  Nightingale's  work  in 
the  East  had  to  contend  throughout  was  the  scarcity  at 
the  time  of  properly  trained  nurses.  She  had  long  ago 
formed  a  resolve  to  remedy  this  defect ;  the  seriousness  of 
it  was  still  further  enforced  upon  her  mind  by  painful 
experience  in  the  Crimean  War ;  and  her  resolve  was  the 
more  strengthened.  The  religious  difficulty  —  demanding 
that  nurses  should  be  selected,  to  some  extent, .  not  qua 
nurses,  but  qua  sectarians — accentuated  the  obstacle  of 
inadequate  training,  which,  however,  would  in  any  case 
have  existed.  The  case  is  excellently  put,  in  terms  which 
doubtless  reflect  Miss  Nightingale's  own  views,  in  a  letter 
from  Lady  Verney  to  Mrs.  Gaskell  (May  17,  1855)  : — 

Until  women  have  gone  through  a  real  training,  it  is  vain 
to  hope  that  four  or  five  weeks  in  a  Hospital  can  fit  them  for 
one  of  the  most  difficult  works  that  any  one  can  be  called  on 
to  undertake.  I  cannot  tell  you  the  details,  you  can  guess 
many  of  them ;  but  when  I  hear  estimable  people  talking  as 
if  you  could  turn  40  women  of  all  ranks,  degrees  of  virtue,  and 
intelligence,  into  a  Military  Hospital,  with  drunken  orderlies,  un- 
married Chaplains,  young  Surgeons,  &c.,  &c.,  and  expect  that 
they  are  not  more  likely  to  be  unwise  or  tempted  astray  than 
the  R.C.  Sisters  of  Charity,  who  are  bound  by  well-considered 
vows,  love  of  their  kind  and  the  fear  of  Hell  fire,  then  we  feel  that 
the  "  estimable  people  "  have  very  little  knowledge  of  human 
nature.  F.'s  form  of  Sisterhood  is  infinitely  higher,  I  believe, 
than  the  R.C.  and  will  be  carried  out,  I  doubt  no  more  than  in  her 
own  existence,  but  as  it  must  exist  without  the  checks  and  safe- 
guards of  the  other  and  inferior  form,  so  it  requires  higher  elements 
in  the  actors  and  a  more  severe  training  and  examination.  Instead 
of  which  the  loosest  possible  choice  takes  place  by  people  most 
excellent  but  not  in  the  least  qualified  to  choose  ;  goodwill  and 
a  "  love  of  nursing  "  is  enough  for  the  Lady  class. 

It  is  the  fact,  though  it  is  not  popularly  known,  that 
Miss  Nightingale  was  at  this  time  strongly  opposed  to 
"  lady  "  nurses.  She  objected  to  them,  not  because  they 
were  ladies,  but  because  they  were  unlikely  to  be  well 
trained.  Pious  and  benevolent  ladies  were  more  given,  she 
said,  to  "  spiritual  flirtations  with  the  patients/'  than  apt 


at  the  proper  business  of  surgical  nursing.  It  was  the 
trained  hospital  nurses  that  she  preferred.  There  were 
among  the  125  women  who  passed  through  her  hands  in 
the  East  more  efficient  and  less,  and  in  so  large  a  flock  there 
were  some  black  sheep.  But  amongst  the  band,  in  all 
classes  and  of  all  denominations,  there  were  devoted  and 
competent  women,  whose  services  deserve  to  be  held  in 
grateful  remembrance  beside  those  of  their  Lady-in-Chief. 
And  as  I  have  had  to  record  Miss  Nightingale's  criticism 
upon  some  of  the  Roman  Catholics  among  her  flock,  it 
should  be  added  that  of  others  she  wrote  to  Mr.  Herbert : 
"  They  are  the  truest  Christians  I  ever  met  with — invaluable 
in  their  work — devoted,  heart  and  head,  to  serve  God  and 
mankind  —  not  to  intrigue  for  their  Church."  To  the 
Reverend  Superior,  who  came  out  from  Bermondsey  with 
the  first  party  of  nuns,  Miss  Nightingale  was  particularly 
attached.  "  She  writes,"  said  Cardinal  Wiseman,  "  that 
great  part  of  her  success  is  due  to  Rev.  Mother  of  Ber- 
mondsey, without  whom  it  would  have  been  a  failure."  * 

The  aspect  of  Miss  Nightingale's  work,  touched  upon  in 
this  chapter,  adds  another  to  the  accumulation  of  difficulties 
with  which  she  had  to  deal.  It  was  the  one  which  troubled 
her  most.  "  In  this  sink  of  misery,  in  this  tussle  of  life  or 
death,"  she  felt  the  bitter  futility  of  personal  grievances  and 
religious  differences.  It  is  worry,  more  than  work,  that 
kills ;  and  the  religious  difficulty  was  perhaps  the  last 
straw  which  caused  the  Lady-in-Chief  to  break  down,  as  we 
shall  hear  in  the  next  chapter,  under  her  heavy  load  of 
responsibility  and  care. 

1  Wilfred  Ward's  Life  of  Wiseman,  vol.  ii.  p.    191.     And  see  Miss 
Nightingale's  own  words  given  below,  p.  299. 


(May-August  1855) 

For  myself,  I  have  done  my  duty.     I  have  identified  my  fate  with 
that  of  the  heroic  dead. — FLORENCE  NIGHTINGALE  (private  notes,  1855). 

IN  the  spring  of  1855  Miss  Nightingale  decided  to  leave 
Scutari  for  a  while  in  order  to  visit  the  hospitals  in  the 
Crimea.  The  conditions  at  Scutari  were  now  greatly  im- 
proved. Sanitary  works  had  been  executed.  The  hospitals 
were  better  supplied.  The  pressure  in  the  wards,  caused 
by  the  terrible  winter  before  Sebastopol,  was  relieved. 
There  were  only  noo  cases  in  the  Barrack  Hospital,  and  of 
those  only  100  were  in  bed.  The  rate  of  mortality  had 
fallen  from  42  per  cent  to  22  per  thousand  of  the  cases  treated. 
The  siege  was  likely  soon  to  be  accompanied  by  assaults, 
and  the  pressure  might  rather  be  in  the  hospitals  at  Bala- 
clava, where  the  sick  and  wounded  were  if  possible  to 
remain,  in  order  to  avoid  the  sufferings  of  the  sea  passage 
to  Scutari. 

In  the  Crimea,  besides  the  regimental  hospitals,  there 
were  four  general  hospitals.  There  was  the  General  Hospital 
at  Balaclava,  established  after  the  British  occupation  in 
September  1854.  There  was  the  Castle  Hospital,  consisting 
of  huts  on  the  "  Genoese  heights  "  above  Balaclava,  opened 
in  April  1855.  There  was  the  Hospital  of  St.  George's  Monas- 
tery, also  consisting  of  huts,  intended  for  convalescent  and 
ophthalmic  cases  ;  and,  lastly,  there  were  the  Hospitals  of  the 
Land  Transport  Corps,  again  consisting  of  huts,  near  Karani. 
All  these  hospitals  had  a  complement  of  female  nurses, 
though  the  Monastery  Hospital  not  until  December  1855, 



and  the  Land  Transport  Hospitals  not  until  1856.  In  the 
spring  of  1855,  then,  there  were  already  female  nurses  at  the 
General  Hospital  and  the  Castle  Hospital,  under  their  own 
superintendents,  but  all  ultimately  responsible  to  Miss 
Nightingale — as  she  apprehended,  and  as  the  War  Office 
intended.  She  was  now  anxious  to  inspect  these  hospitals  ; 
to  increase  the  efficiency  of  the  female  nursing  establish- 
ments ;  and,  in  particular,  to  introduce  those  washing  and 
cooking  arrangements  which  had  been  productive  of  so 
much  benefit  at  Scutari.  Her  visit  of  inspection  was  ap- 
proved by  the  War  Office  ;  and,  by  instructions  dated  April 
27,  she  was  invested  with  full  authority  as  Almoner  of  the 
Free  Gifts  in  all  the  British  Hospitals  in  the  Crimea.  But  in 
other  respects  her  position  was  somewhat  ambiguous.  The 
original  instructions,  issued  by  Mr.  Herbert,  had  named  her 
as  Superintendent  of  the  female  nurses  in  all  the  British 
military  hospitals  in  Turkey ;  and  these  words  gave  a 
standing-ground  to  her  opponents  in  the  Crimea.  The 
intention  of  the  War  Office  was  to  give  her  general  super- 
intendence, but  to  relieve  her  of  direct  responsibility  for  the 
nurses  in  the  Crimea  so  long  as  she  was  at  Scutari.  The 
matter  was  not,  however,  cleared  up  till  a  later  date,1  and 
the  indefiniteness  of  her  position  in  the  Crimea  exposed  her 
to  infinite  worry  and  intrigues. 

On  May  2,  Miss  Nightingale  set  forth  from  Scutari, 
where  Mrs.  Bracebridge  was  left  in  charge : — 

"  Poor  old  Flo,"  Miss  Nightingale  wrote  from  the  Black 
Sea,  May  5,  1855,  "  steaming  up  the  Bosphorus  and  across  the 
Black  Sea  with  four  nurses,  two  cooks,  and  a  boy  to  Crim  Tartary 
(to  overhaul  the  Regimental  Hospitals)  in  the  Robert  Lowe  or 
Robert  Slow  (for  an  exceedingly  slow  boat  she  is),  taking  back 
420  of  her  patients,  a  draught  of  convalescents  returning  to  their 
regiments  to  be  shot  at  again.  '  A  Mother  in  Israel,'  Pastor 
Fliedner  called  me ;  a  Mother  in  the  Coldstreams,  is  the  more 
appropriate  appellation.  What  suggestions  do  the  above  ideas 
make  to  you  in  Embley  drawing-room  ?  Stranger  ones  perhaps 
than  to  me,  who,  on  the  5th  May,  year  of  disgrace  1855,  having 
been  at  Scutari  six  months  to-day,  am  in  sympathy  with  God, 
fulfilling  the  purpose  I  came  into  the  world  for.  What  the 

1  See  below,  p.  292. 


disappointments  of  the  conclusion  of  these  six  months  are  no 
one  can  tell.     But  I  am  not  dead,  but  alive." 

Miss  Nightingale  was  accompanied  to  the  Crimea  by  the 
faithful  Mr.  Bracebridge,  willing  as  ever  to  serve  her.  Among 
the  nurses  was  Mrs.  Roberts,  whose  exceptional  efficiency 
and  personal  devotion  to  the  Lady-in-Chief  were  soon  to 
be  called  in  need.  Of  the  cooks,  the  chief  was  Soyer  the 
Great,  from  whose  cheerfully  gossiping  and  pleasantly 
egotistical  pages  l  some  details  are  drawn  in  this  chapter. 
The  "  boy  "  mentioned  in  Miss  Nightingale's  letter  was 
Thomas,  a  drummer,  who,  though  only  twelve  years  of  age, 
used  to  call  himself  "  Miss  Nightingale's  Man."  He  was  a 
regular  enfant  de  troupe,  says  M.  Soyer,  full  of  activity,  wit, 
intelligence,  and  glee.  He  would  draw  himself  up  to  his 
full  height,  and  explain  that  he  had  "  forsaken  his  instru- 
ments in  order  to  devote  his  civil  and  military  career  to 
Miss  Nightingale."  She  was  attended  also  by  a  soldier 
invalided  from,  the  68th  Light  Infantry,  whom  Mr.  Brace- 
bridge  had  picked  out  to  serve  as  messenger.  In  1860  he 
wrote  a  manuscript  account  of  his  experiences  in  the  Crimea,2 
and  this  is  another  first-hand  source  from  which  particulars 
are  drawn  in  the  present  chapter.  The  party  arrived  at 
Balaclava  on  May  5,  and  the  decks  of  vessels  in  the  harbour 
were  crowded  with  spectators  anxious  to  catch  a  glimpse 
of  the  famous  Lady-in-Chief.  There  was  no  accommodation 
for  her  ashore  ;  so  her  headquarters  were  on  board  the 
Robert  Lowe,  and  when  that  vessel  left,  on  the  sailing  trans- 
port London. 


Miss  Nightingale  set  to  work  immediately,  and  with 
characteristic  energy.  One  of  her  first  duties  was  a  visit 
of  ceremony  to  Lord  Raglan.  She  was  a  good  horsewoman, 

1  See  Bibliography  B,  No.  15. 

2  Robert  Robinson,  on  his  return  to  England,  was  sent  to  school  and 
an  agricultural  college  by  Miss  Nightingale,  and  obtained  employment 
on  Lord  Berners's  estate  in  Scotland.     Miss  Nightingale  was  constantly 
befriending  him,  e.g.  in  paying  bis  expenses  for  a  visit  to  London  to  see 
the  Exhibition  of  1862,  and  in  sending  him  illustrated  newspapers,  and  even 
the  Times.     There  was  another  Crimean  lad,  besides  Tommy,  one  William 
Jones,  with  a  wooden  leg.     See  below,  p.  304,  where  account  is  also  given 
of  another  protege,  Peter. 


and  as  a  girl  had  been  fond  of  riding.    She  was  now  mounted 
"  upon  a  very  pretty  mare,  which,  by  its  gambols  and 
caracoling,  seemed  proud  to  carry  its  noble  charge,  and  our 
cavalcade  produced  an  extraordinary  effect  upon  the  motley 
crowd  of  all  nations  assembled  at  Balaclava,   who  were 
astonished  at  seeing  a  lady  so  well  escorted.'*    Was  not  the 
great  Soyer  himself  among  the  escort  ?     The  Commander  of 
the  Forces  was  away,  but  Miss  Nightingale  was  taken  to  the 
Three  Mortar  Battery,  and  the  soldiers,  as  she  passed,  gave 
her   three    times    three.      This  visit   to  the  front  made  a 
profound  and  indelible  impression  upon  her.1     It  is  first 
recorded  in  a  letter  of  May  10,  which  was  forwarded  to 
Windsor   Castle.2      "  Fancy,"    she   wrote,    "  working   five 
nights  out  of  seven  in  the  trenches  !     Fancy  being  36  hours 
in  them  at  a  stretch,  as  they  were  all  December,  lying  down, 
or  half  lying  down,  often  48  hours  with  no  food  but  raw 
salt  pork,  sprinkled  with  sugar,  rum,  and  biscuit ;   nothing 
hot,  because  the  exhausted  soldier  could  not  collect  his  own 
fuel,  as  he  was  expected  to  do,  to  cook  his  own  ration  ;  and 
fancy  through  all  this  the  army  preserving  their  courage 
and  patience  as  they  have  done,  and  being  now  eager  (the 
old  ones  more  than  the  young  ones)  to  be  led  even  into 
the  trenches.  There  was  something  sublime  in  the  spectacle." 
"  When  I   see   the   camp/'    she   wrote   to  Lady  Canning 
(May  10),  "I  wonder  not  that  the  army  suffered  so  much, 
but  that  there  is  any  army  left  at  all ;  but  now  all  is  looking 
up.    Sir  John  M'Neill  has  done  wonders."     With  Sir  John 
M'Neill,  a  doctor  who  afterwards  entered  the  Political  Service 
in  the  East,  Miss  Nightingale  formed  a  great  friendship.    He, 
with  Colonel  Tulloch,  had  been  sent  out  to  the  Crimea  by 
Lord  Palmerston's  Government  to  report  upon  the  Com- 
missariat system. 

Miss  Nightingale,  on  this  and  her  later  visits  to  the 
Crimea,  saw  and  heard  of  many  deeds  of  heroism  which  she 
loved  to  tell.  "  I  remember,"  she  wrote,  "  a  sergeant,  who 
was  on  picket,  the  rest  of  the  picket  killed,  and  himself 
battered  about  the  head,  stumbled  back  to  camp,  and  on  his 

1  See,  e.g.,  below,  pp.  317,  488,  and  Vol.  II.  p.  411. 

2  Found  among  the  Prince  Consort's  papers,  and  printed  in  Sir  Theo- 
dore Martin's  Life  of  him,  vol.  iii.  p.  214. 

VOL.  I  S 


way  picked  up  a  wounded  man,  and  brought  him  in  on  his 
shoulders  to  the  lines,  where  he  fell  down  insensible.  When, 
after  many  hours,  he  recovered  his  senses,  I  believe  after 
trepanning,  his  first  words  were  to  ask  after  his  comrade, 
'  Is  he  alive  ?  '  '  Comrade,  indeed  !  yes,  he's  alive,  it  is 
the  General.'  At  that  moment  the  General,  though  badly 
wounded,  appeared  at  the  bedside.  '  Oh,  General,  it's  you, 
is  it,  I  brought  in,  I'm  so  glad.  I  didn't  know  your  honour, 
but  if  I'd  known  it  was  you,  I'd  have  saved  you  all  the  same/ 
This  is  the  true  soldier's  spirit."  * 


During  the  few  days  immediately  after  her  arrival  at 
Balaclava,  Miss  Nightingale  carried  on  an  active  investiga- 
tion of  the  hospitals,  regimental  and  general ;  arranged 
various  affairs  in  connection  with  the  sisters  and  nurses  ; 
discussed  the  building  of  new  huts  ;  and,  in  conjunction 
with  M.  Soyer,  planned  the  erection  of  several  kitchens  for 
extra  diet.  Here,  as  at  Scutari,  she  was  fearless  of  contagion, 
and  tended  patients  stricken  with  fever.  On  return  to  her 
ship  one  evening  she  complained  of  great  fatigue  ;  and  on 
the  following  morning,  feeling  no  better,  she  sent  for  Dr. 
Anderson,  Chief  Medical  Officer  at  the  General  Hospital. 
He  called  others  of  the  medical  staff  into  consultation,  and  a 
joint  bulletin  was  issued  to  the  effect  that  Miss  Nightingale 
was  suffering  from  Crimean  fever.  They  advised  that  she 
should  be  removed  from  the  ship,  and  she  was  carried  on  a 
stretcher  by  relays  of  soldiers  to  the  Castle  Hospital  on  the 
Genoese  Heights.  The  hut  in  which  she  lay  was  immediately 
behind  those  of  the  wounded  soldiers.  The  attack  of  fever 
was  sharp,  and  she  was,  as  she  afterwards  admitted  to  her 
friends,  "  very  near  to  death."  There  are  scraps  of  manu- 
script among  her  papers  (for  even  in  illness  she  could  not 
be  kept  from  the  use  of  her  pen)  which  show  a  wandering 

The  news  of  Miss  Nightingale's  illness  was  received  with 
consternation  in  England,  and  the  anxiety  of  her  friends 
was  intense,  though  Lord  Raglan  had  thoughtfully  arranged 

1  Letter  on  the  Volunteers,  1861.     See  Bibliography  A,  No.  25. 


that  a  telegraphic  dispatch  from  him  should  not  reach 
them  till,  after  two  or  three  days  of  the  fever,  the  doctors 
were  able  to  hold  out  hopes  of  recovery.  "  Sitting  to-day," 
wrote  her  sister  to  a  friend,  from  Embley  (May  27),  "  in 
the  little  Vicarage  woodhouse,  waiting  for  the  people  to  come 
out  from  church  (for  we  were  not  up  to  the  whole  service), 
in  order  to  go  in  to  the  Communion  which  she  loves  so  well, 
and  which  we  always  take  with  her  and  God,  and  which  she 
is  taking  in  spirit  or  reality  to-day  if  she  is  alive,  and  if  not 
is  taking  in  a  higher  and  happier  sense — Mama  said,  '  I 
thank  God  she  is  ready  for  life  or  for  death '  ;  and  in  that, 
dear,  we  truly  strive  to  rest,  though  the  spirit  would 
quail,  I  am  afraid,  if  there  were  not  hope  at  the  bottom." 
The  anxiety  in  the  War  Hospitals  was  scarcely  less. 
"  The  soldiers  turned  their  faces  to  the  wall,"  said  one, 
"  and  cried."  The  crisis  passed,  and  on  May  24  Lord 
Raglan  was  able  to  telegraph  home  that  the  patient  was  out 
of  danger,  and  three  days  later  that  she  was  going  on  favour- 
ably. The  bulletins  were  forwarded  to  the  Queen,  and  on 
May  28  Her  Majesty,  in  writing  to  Lord  Panmure,  was 
"  truly  thankful  to  learn  that  that  excellent  and  valuable 
person,  Miss  Nightingale,  is  safe."  1  At  this  time  a  horse- 
man rode  up  to  her  hut,  and  the  nurse,  Mrs.  Roberts,  who 
had  been  enjoined  to  keep  the  patient  quiet,  refused  to  let 
him  in.  He  said  that  he  most  particularly  desired  to  see 
Miss  Nightingale.  "  And  pray,"  said  Mrs.  Roberts,  "  who 
are  you  ?  "  "  Ah,  only  a  soldier,"  replied  the  visitor, 
"  but  I  have  ridden  a  long  way,  and  your  patient  knows 
me  very  well."  He  was  admitted,  and  a  month  later  was 
himself  laid  low  and  died.  It  was  Lord  Raglan. 


Miss  Nightingale,  on  becoming  convalescent,  was  strongly 
advised  by  the  doctors  to  take  a  voyage  to  England.  She 
would  not  listen  to  such  advice.  Her  work  at  the  front  had 
but  just  begun,  and  she  was  resolved  to  return  to  it  after 
the  shortest  possible  delay.  The  voyage  to  the  Bosphorus 
was  the  longest  that  she  could  be  induced  to  take.  Her 

1  Panmure  Papers,  vol.  i.  p..  215. 


good  Mrs.  Bracebridge  had  arrived  from  Scutari  just  in 
time  to  accompany  her  friend  on  the  return  voyage.  Lord 
Ward,  whose  steam-yacht  was  in  harbour  at  the  time, 
pressed  the  use  of  it  upon  her,  and  in  it  she  was  taken  to 
Scutari.  When  the  yacht  reached  Scutari,  all  the  high 
officials  were  present  to  meet  it.  One  of  the  large  barges, 
used  to  remove  the  sick  and  wounded,  was  brought  along- 
side, and  Miss  Nightingale,  in  a  state  of  extreme  weakness 
and  exhaustion,  was  lowered  into  it.  At  the  pier  soldiers 
were  in  readiness,  who  carried  her  on  a  stretcher  to  the 
chaplain's  house,  followed  by  a  large  and  sympathetic 
crowd.  "I  do  not  remember  anything  during  the  cam- 
paign/' wrote  the  good-hearted  Soyer,  "  so  gratifying  to 
the  feelings  as  that  simple  though  grand  procession." 
"  Ah,"  said  a  soldier,  "  there  was  no  sadder  sight  than  to 
see  that  dear  lady  carried  up  from  the  pier  on  a  stretcher 
just  like  we  men,  and  perhaps  by  some  of  the  fellows  she 
nursed  herself."  1  It  was  the  same  when  she  was  presently 
moved  from  Scutari  to  the  shore  in  order  to  go  to  Therapia, 
where  the  Ambassador  had  placed  his  summer  residence  at 
her  disposal.  She  was  carried  in  a  litter  by  four  guardsmen, 
but,  though  it  was  only  five  minutes'  walk  to  the  shore, 
there  were  two  relays,  and  her  baggage  was  divided  among 
twelve  soldiers,  though  two  could  easily  have  carried  the 
whole,2  so  great  was  the  desire  of  the  men  to  share  in  the 
honour  of  helping  the  Lady-in-Chief. 

Her  recovery  was  gradual,  and  her  weakness  great.  Mrs. 
Bracebridge  described  her  as  unable  to  feed  herself  or  speak 
above  a  whisper.  The  extreme  exhaustion  was  more  from 
the  previous  overstrain  on  mind  and  body  than  from  the 
fever,  the  doctors  said,  and  they  recommended  complete 
change  and  rest.  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  wrote,  imploring  her 
to  come  home  for  two  months  :  "  We  are  delighted,"  wrote 
her  mother  (July  9),  "  to  think  of  you  at  Therapia.  Oh,  my 
love,  how  I  trust  that  you  will,  among  the  numerous  lessons 
which  your  life  has  been  spent  in  learning,  be  able  to  perfect 
that  most  difficult  one  of  standing  and  waiting."  She 
was  to  be  lessoned  in  that  form  of  service,  but  not  till 

1  Blackwood,  p.  115. 
2  Memoirs  of  Lady  Eastlake,  vol.  ii.  p.  44. 


after  many  more  years  of  arduous  labour,  and  for  the 
present  she  would  not  hear  of  any  return  to  England.  The 
feeling  of  the  soldiers  for  her  touched  her  so  deeply  that 
she  could  not  bear,  she  said,  to  leave  them.  Gradually 
she  recovered  strength.  "  We  have  a  charming  account," 
wrote  her  sister  (Aug.  21),  "  from  Lothian  Nicholson  just 
ordered  out  to  Crimea,  who  is  quite  enthusiastic,  dear  old 
boy,  about  her  good  looks,  which,  as  all  her  hair  has  been 
cut  off,  is  good  testimony — *  her  own  smile/  he  talks  of,  and 
says  he  can  hardly  believe  she  has  gone  through  such  a 
winter.  The  dear  Bracebridges  say  that  her  improvement 
in  the  last  week  was  delightful  and  wonderful."  Already, 
in  July,  her  business  letters  were  resumed.  In  August 
she  was  in  the  full  rush  of  work  again.  The  doctors  and 
her  friends  still  besought  her  to  take  rest.  But  her  in- 
domitable spirit  would  listen  to  no  counsels  of  retreat.  The 
end  of  the  war  was  not  yet  in  sight.  Even  Sebastopol  had 
not  yet  fallen.  So  long  as  there  remained  sick  and  wounded 
in  the  Levant  to  be  cared  for,  she  was  resolved  to  remain 
also.  A  soldier  was  told  that  the  Lady-in-Chief  would 
probably  be  sent  home.  "  But  how  will  they  pairt  with 
her,"  he  said,  "  what'll  they  do  without  her  ?  they  set  all 
their  hopes  on  she."  There  were  nurses,  too,  naturally 
anxious  to  rejoin  their  families  or  friends  at  home,  who  said 
that,  if  she  went,  they  would  go.  The  presence  of  Miss 
Nightingale,  with  her  lofty  ideals  and  inspiring  self-devotion, 
was  the  attraction  which  kept  many  of  these  women  at  their 
posts.  Some  had  already  died.  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Drake, 
one  of  the  nurses  whom  Miss  Nightingale  had  taken  with  her 
to  the  Crimea,  died  on  August  9  of  low  fever  at  Balaclava. 
"  I  cannot  tell  you,"  wrote  Miss  Nightingale  to  the  Master 
of  St.  John's  House  (Aug.  16,  1855),  "  what  I  felt  when  I 
heard  of  her  death,  unexpected  alike  by  all.  Her  two 
physicians  thought  her  going  on  well,  and  I  expected  her  in 
every  convoy  that  came  down  from  Balaclava,  as  she  was 
coming  to  me  to  recruit.  I  have  lost  in  her  the  best  of  all 
the  women  here.  Once  I  proposed  to  her  to  go  home,  but 
she  scouted  the  idea  entirely  and  said  her  health  was  better 
here  than  in  England.  I  feel  like  a  criminal  in  having  robbed 
you  of  one  so  truly  to  be  loved  and  honoured.  It  seemed 

262  WORK  RESUMED  PT.  n 

as  if  it  pleased  God  to  remove  from  the  work  those  who 
have  been  most  useful  to  it.  His  will  be  done  !  "  Nurse 
Drake's  body  was  brought  to  Scutari,  and  Miss  Nightin- 
gale erected  a  small  marble  cross  over  it  in  the  ceme- 
tery. It  was  no  time,  when  members  of  the  rank-and-file 
were  falling  at  the  post  of  duty,  for  the  chief  to  listen  to 
counsels  of  medical  prudence.  Nor,  indeed,  at  any  time  did 
Miss  Nightingale  harbour  even  a  passing  thought  of  what 
would  have  seemed  to  her  an  act  of  military  desertion. 
She  remained  till  the  end  of  the  war  came,  and  till  the  last 
transport  had  sailed ;  working  indefatigably  as  ever,  and 
in  some  respects  in  new  spheres  of  usefulness,  both  in  the 
Crimea  and  at  Scutari ;  to  what  good  effect  we  shall  hear 
in  later  chapters,  but  at  great  cost  to  her  own  comfort  and 
bodily  strength.  She  had  been  appointed,  as  she  used  to 
say,  to  a  subsidiary  post  in  the  Queen's  Army 1 ;  the 
humblest  post,  it  might  be,  but  still  a  post  of  duty.  The 
men  had  dared  and  suffered  ;  and  Florence  Nightingale 
was  resolved  to  show  that  a  woman  too  had  strength  to 
suffer  and  endure. 

During  the  weeks  of  convalescence  at  Scutari,  Miss 
Nightingale  used  sometimes  to  walk  at  evening  on  the  shore, 
in  full  sight  of  that  view  which,  when  she  had  first  come 
there,  they  told  her  was  the  finest  in  the  world,  but  which, 
in  the  crush  of  work,  she  had  no  time  to  enjoy.2  She  sent 
a  letter  to  her  people  at  home  describing  one  such  evening 
walk,  and  it  was  read  out  in  the  family  circle.  Lady  Byron, 
who  was  staying  with  them  at  the  time,  heard  it  read,  and 
said  that  it  was  "  like  a  hymn — simple  and  deep-toned." 
She  described  how,  on  the  opposite  side,  the  city  of  Con- 
stantinople was  defined  against  the  burning  sky  of  the 
setting  sun,  but  the  outline  was  changed  by  the  fall  of  some 
mounds  in  an  earthquake.  Near  her  were  the  graves  of 
the  heroic  dead,  the  thousands  with  whom,  she  said,  she 
felt  identified.  "  It  went  into  my  heart,"  wrote  Lady 
Byron,  "  as  the  poetry  of  fact — for  she  has  made  poetry 
fact."  The  letter  went  on  to  speak  of  the  British  burying- 

1  She  was  especially  pleased  when  in  March  1856  her  name  appeared 
for  the  first  time  in  General  Orders  ;   see  below,  p.  293. 

2  Above,  p.  173. 

CH.  ix  '  THE  HEROIC  DEAD  "  263 

ground    at    Scutari,    and    Miss    Nightingale    added    these 
lines  : — 

"  They  are  not  here  !  "     No,  not  beneath  that  sod, 

And  yet  not  far  away, 
For  they  can  mingle  their  new  life  from  God 

With  living  souls,  not  clay. 

And  they,  "  the  heroic  dead,"  will  softly  pour 

Into  thy  spirit's  ear 
A  music  human  still,  but  sad  no  more, 

To  tell  thee  they  are  near — 

Near  thee  with  higher  ministering  aid 

Thy  heart-work  to  return, 
So  that  each  sacrifice  that  love  has  made 

A  victory  shall  earn  ! l 

1  The  words  in  inverted  commas  were  quotations  from  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's letters.  These  had  been  shown  to  a  friend,  who  thereupon  wrote 
the  lines,  above  quoted,  and  sent  them  to  her. 



Miss  Nightingale  looks  to  her  reward  from  this  country  in  having  a 
fresh  field  for  her  labours,  and  means  of  extending  the  good  that  she  has 
already  begun.  A  compliment  cannot  be  paid  dearer  to  her  heart  than 
in  giving  her  work  to  do. — SIDNEY  HERBERT. 

THE  news  of  Miss  Nightingale's  illness  spread  sympathetic 
anxiety  throughout  Great  Britain.  Even  more  than  when 
her  mission  of  mercy  was  first  announced,  she  became  the 
popular  heroine  ;  and  more  than  ever  men  and  women  of 
all  classes  sought  means  of  showing  their  sympathy. 

Lady  Verney,  whose  depth  of  feeling  is  not  concealed  by 
the  play  of  humour  which  sparkles  pleasantly  upon  the  sur- 
face, described,  successively,  the  penalties  and  the  pleasures 
of  being  the  sister  of  a  heroine  : — 

(Miss  F.  P.  Nightingale  to  Miss  Ellen  Toilet.)  EMBLEY, 
Friday  [Summer  of  1855].  I  am  quite  done  with  writing,  a 
second  blast  of  linen  and  knitted  socks  was  nearly  the  death  of  me, 
and  '  hints/  my  dear  ! — oh,  my  horror  of  being  asked  for  hints, — 
such  as  "  can  newspapers  be  put  into  the  post  free  ?  "  and  such 
like  niaiseries.  How  grateful  I  am  to  you  for  never  once  having 
inquired  whether  socks  or  muffetees  are  most  required,  and 
whether  you  are  safe  in  sending  6  towels  and  an  old  tablecloth  to 
London,  or  whether  they  had  better  come  to  us.  It  sounds  very 
ungrateful,  I  am  afraid,  but  when  one's  wrist  aches  over  the  two 
hundredth  repetition  of  the  matter,  I  do  wish  the  public  would 
apply  to  the  nearest  post  office,  or  read  that  scarce  and  erudite 
work  the  Times,  and  use  their  sense  not  their  pens. 

However,  these  words  are  only  when  I  am  cross  at  having 
been  prevented  from  writing  to  the  folk  I  love,  such  as  thee,  of 
the  progress  of  Scutari.  Else  generally  the  feeling  in  every  soul, 
so  wide  and  so  deep,  touches  us  more  than  I  can  tell,  and  helps  us 
over  the  inevitable  weight  of  the  anxiety  more  than  I  thought 



possible — heavy,  redfaced,  old  fox-hunting  Squires,  who  never 
had  a  "  sentiment  "  in  their  lives,  come  with  their  eyes  full  of 
tears ;  narrow-minded  Farmers  with  both  eyes  on  the  main  chance 
are  melted ;  young  ladies  who  never  got  beyond  balls  and  concerts 
are  warmed.  Dearest,  I  do  feel  of  the  feeling  she  has  raised,  it 
blesseth  "  him  here  who  gives  and  those  out  there  who  take/'  and 
will  do  good  wider  than  one  hoped.  I  can't  so  much  as  write  for 
a  dispatch  box  for  her  (thinking  an  official  of  her  scale  must 
want  one  for  her  papers)  without  its  coming  back  full  of  pretty 
little  match  boxes  as  an  offering,  and  wrapped  in  a  large  contribu- 
tion of  old  sheets.  ...  I  must  give  you  the  cream  of  this  last 
three  or  four  days'  letters.  Firstly,  Mr.  Hookham,  the  bookseller, 
sending  down  a  parcel,  says  he  "  trusts  to  hear  of  the  return  of 
Miss  N.,  as  he  does  not  think,  though  convalescent,  she  can  get 
well  on  the  shores  of  Bosphorus  or  Black  Sea ;  that  a  General  or 
Admiral  can  be  replaced,  but  there  can  be  no  successor  to  Miss  N., 
her  skill,  her  fortitude,  her  courage  cannot  be  replaced.  I  speak 
of  courage  in  the  most  exalted  sense  that  it  is  possible  to  char- 
acterise the  bravery  and  devotion  of  woman."  Then  comes  a 
letter  from  a  shipowner  in  the  north  of  Scotland  going  to  launch 
a  vessel,  and  wanting  to  call  it  after  her,  sends  to  have  her  name 
quite  "correct."  Next,  Lady  Dunsany  saying  that  "Joan  of 
Arc  was  not  more  a  creation  of  the  moment  and  for  the  moment 
than  F.  Joan's  was  the  same  unearthly  influence  carrying  all 
before  its  spirit  might — Joan's  was  the  same  strange  and  sexless 
identity,  which,  belonging  as  it  were  neither  to  man  nor  woman, 
seemed  to  disembody  and  combine  the  choicest  results  of  both,  and 
then  to  sweep  down  conventionalities,  prejudices,  and  pruderies, 
with  the  clear,  cold,  crystal  sceptre  of  its  majestic  purity.  Joan's 
mission,  too,  was  the  condensation  of  her  country's  moral  and 
intellectual  power  in  the  person  of  a  young  and  single  woman  when 
the  men  of  that  country  were  so  many  of  them  imbecile  and  effete  ! 
I  think  my  parallel  runs  pretty  close."  Lord  Dunsany  adds 
that  he  has  no  time  to  write,  so  he  says,  "  ditto  to  Mrs.  Burke," 
and  that  I  know  he  is  "  fanatico  for  Joan  of  Arc  rediviva,  God  bless 
her."  Then  a  bit  from  Lady  Byron,  saying,  "  even  her  illness 
will  advance  her  work  as  all  things  must  for  those  who  do  all  with 
His  aid,"  and  more  that  is  most  beautiful.  Then  2  copies  of  the 
History  of  Women,  with  portrait  of  Miss  N.  to  be  sent  to  her 
"  from  the  author,"  and  a  flaming  extract  from  a  County  paper 
in  a  pamphlet,  Stroll  to  Lea  Hurst,  20  copies  ditto,  ditto,  and  a 
majestic  effusion  from  the  family  grocer  about  "  heroic  conduct," 
"  brave  and  noble  Miss  N.,"  "  identified  with  Crimean  success 
and  sad  disasters,"  "  posterity,"  "  arm  of  civilisation,"  "  rampant 
barbarism,"  &c.  &c.,  and  so  on. 

(To  Florence  Nightingale.)    Dec.  8  [1855].    It  has  been  curious 


(as  your  representative)  how  our  Burlington  Street  room  has 
seen  Manning  and  Maurice,  Mr.  Best  and  the  Chancellor,  Lady 
Amelia  Jebb  and  Mrs.  Herbert,  Lady  Byron  and  Lady  Canning, 
the  extremes  of  all  kinds  crowding  in  to  help  you  in  every  way 
that  they  could  devise.  Then  come  in  tradespeople,  all  so  intent 
on  you ;  and  working  folk,  your  stoutest  supporters,  and  those 
you  will  care  most  for.  And  we  are  tenderly  treated  and  affec- 
tionately welcomed  by  one  and  all  of  all  classes  and  opinions  for 
your  sake,  my  dear,  and  very  sweet  to  me  is  kindliness  for  your 
dear  sake  ;  it  seems  as  if  it  were  part  of  you  coming  to  meet  me. 


But  Miss  Nightingale's  popularity  was  not  limited  to 
such  circles  as  those  in  which  her  family  moved.  Letters 
from  soldiers  in  the  Crimea  had  made  her  known  in  thousands 
of  humble  homes,  and  she  became  the  heroine  of  the  cottage, 
the  workshop,  and  the  alleys.  Old  soldiers  dropped  into 
poetry  about  her,  and  rhymed  broadsheets,  with  rough 
woodcuts  of  the  Lady  with  the  Lamp,  issued  from  printers 
in  Seven  Dials  and  Soho.  One  of  these  songs,  entitled  "  The 
Nightingale  in  the  East/'  and  intended  to  go  to  the  tune  of 
"  The  Cottage  and  Water  Mill,"  was  especially  popular  with 
its  refrain  : — 

So  forward,  my  lads,  may  your  hearts  never  fail, 

You  are  cheer'd  by  the  presence  of  a  sweet  Nightingale.1 

Then  from  the  same  class  of  printing-offices  there  issued 
"  Price  One  Penny,  The  Only  and  Unabridged  Edition  of 
the  Life  of  Miss  Nightingale,  Detailing  her  Christian  Heroic 
Deeds  in  the  Land  of  Tumult  and  Death,  which  has  made 
her  name  most  deservedly  Immortal,  not  only  in  England, 

1  For  the  text  see  Bibliography  B,  No.  7.  An  article  in  the  Quarterly 
Review  of  April  1867,  entitled  "  The  Nightingale  in  the  East,"  is  "  a  study 
of  the  Poetry  of  Seven  Dials."  The  popular  ditty  about  Miss  Nightingale 
has  been  sung  under  many  skies  and  to  many  audiences  ;  never  to  greater 
effect  than  on  Christmas  Day  1870  in  St.  Thomas's  Hospital  (then  in  the 
Surrey  Gardens) .  The  nurses  had  arranged  a  Christmas  treat ;  the 
children  had  sung  hymns,  and  older  patients  had  given  popular  songs  of 
the  day.  A  patient  in  the  Accident  Ward,  a  coal-heaver  with  a  broken 
leg,  then  volunteered  ;  when  the  words  of  the  refrain  caught  the  ears  of 
the  Nightingale  nurses,  "  we  dropped  all  work  "  (says  one  of  them),  "  and 
listened  intently  till  the  song  was  over,  all  enthusiasm  for  our  Chief."  The 
singer  told  them  that  he  was  an  old  soldier,  and  had  been  nursed  by  Miss 
Nightingale  in  the  General  Hospital  at  Balaclava. 


but  in  all  Civilized  Parts  of  the  World,  winning  the  Prayers 
of  the  Soldier,  the  Widow,  and  the  Orphan."  The  poets 
and  biographers  were  not  only  in  Seven  Dials.  The  Poet's 
Corner  of  every  newspaper,  from  Punch  and  the  Spectator 
to  the  smallest  country  journal,  was  devoted  to  the  praise  of 
the  heroine.  Ingenious  triflers  were  at  work,  and  it  was 
found  that  her  anagram  was  indeed,  as  an  old  definition  has 
it,  poesie  transferred,  and  Florence  Nightingale  became 
"  Flit  on,  cheering  angel."  Prize  poems  at  the  universities 
pictured  her,  in  the  manner  of  such  compositions,  walking 

Where  strong  men  tremble  and  where  brave  hearts  fail. 

Then  the  musicians  took  up  the  Popular  Heroine,  and 
both  now,  and  after  her  return  from  the  Crimea,  sentimental 
songs,  set  to  music,  were  inscribed  to  her  :  "  Angels  with 
Sweet  Approving  Smiles,"  "  The  Shadow  on  the  Pillow," 
"The  Soldier's  Widow,"  "The  Woman's  Smile,"  "The 
Soldier's  Cheer  " — this  latter  "  played  by  the  band  of  the 
97th  Regiment,"—"  Die  Soldaten  Lebewohl,"  "  The  Star 
of  the  East,"  and  so  forth.  The  stationers  followed  in  the 
wake  of  the  printers,  and  brought  out  note-paper  with  a 
picture  of  Florence  Nightingale  as  the  water-mark,  or  with 
lithographed  views  of  "  Lea  Hurst,  her  home."  Portraits 
of  her  were  eagerly  sought ;  and  as  the  family  were  un- 
willing to  supply  them,  likenesses  had  to  be  invented  to 
adorn  sentimental  prints.  Life-boats  and  emigrant-ships 
were  christened  The  Florence  Nightingale.  Children,  streets, 
valses,  and  race-horses  were  named  after  her.  "  The 
Forest  Plate  Handicap  was  won  by  Miss  Nightingale, 
beating  Barbarity  and  nine  others."  Tradesmen  printed 
portraits  and  short  lives  of  her  on  their  paper  bags. 
At  Fairs  there  were  "  Grand  Exhibitions  of  Miss  Florence 
Nightingale  administering  to  the  Sick  and  Wounded/' 
China  figures,  with  no  recognizable  likeness  to  her,  but 
inscribed  "  Florence  Nightingale,"  were  put  on  sale.  The 
public  would  not  be  denied.  "  Yes,  indeed,"  wrote  Lady 
Verney  to  her  sister,  "  the  people  love  you  with  a  sort 
of  passionate  tenderness  that  goes  to  my  heart." 

Miss    Nightingale  did    not    relish  all   this.     They  had 


sent  her  various  supplies  for  the  sick,  and  also  a  packet 
of  "  Lives,"  "  Portraits,"  and  the  like  to  Scutari.  "  My 
effigies  and  praises,"  she  wrote  in  reply,  "  were  less  welcome. 
I  do  not  affect  indifference  to  real  sympathy,  but  I  have 
felt  painfully,  the  more  painfully  since  I  have  had  time  to 
hear  of  it,  the  eclat  which  has  been  given  to  this  adventure. 
The  small  still  beginning,  the  simple  hardship,  the  silent  and 
gradual  struggle  upwards,  these  are  the  climate  in  which  an 
enterprise  really  thrives  and  grows.  Time  has  not  altered 
our  Saviour's  lesson  on  that  point,  which  has  been  learnt 
successively  by  all  reformers  from  their  own  experience. 
The  vanity  and  frivolity  which  the  eclat  thrown  upon  this 
affair  has  called  forth  has  done  us  unmitigated  harm,  and 
has  brought  mischief  on  (perhaps)  one  of  the  most  promising 
enterprises  that  ever  set  sail  from  England.  Our  own  old 
party  which  began  its  work  in  hardship,  toil,  struggle,  and 
obscurity  has  done  better  than  any  other." 


When  it  became  known  in  England  that  Miss  Nightingale 
had  recovered  from  her  illness,  and  had  resolved  to  remain 
at  her  post  until  the  end  of  the  war,  a  movement  at  once 
sprang  up  for  marking  in  some  public  manner  the  nation's 
appreciation  of  her  services  and  her  devotion.  There  was 
at  first  some  idea,  as  Lady  Verney  wrote,  of  a  personal 
testimonial  in  the  "  teapot  and  bracelet "  kind.  Mrs. 
Herbert,  who  was  consulted  in  the  matter,  knew  her 
friend  well  enough  to  be  certain  that  Miss  Nightingale  would 
decline  to  accept  any  such  proposal.  The  only  form  of 
testimonial  to  which  she  would  ever  listen  was  something 
to  enable  her  the  better  to  carry  on  her  work  for  others. 
Miss  Nightingale  was  written  to,  and  replied,  in  accordance 
with  Mrs.  Herbert's  expectation,  that  she  must  absolutely 
decline  any  testimonial  of  a  personal  character.  Her  friends 
knew  well  that  what  she  would  best  like  was  the  establish- 
ment in  one  form  or  another  of  "  an  English  Kaiserswerth." 
This  suggestion  was  accordingly  put  before  her,  and  she 
was  asked  to  submit  a  plan.  Her  reply  was,  again,  very 
characteristic.  Immersed  in  the  crowded  work  of  the 


moment,  she  was  in  no  mood  to  make  future  plans  ;  but  she 
took  the  earliest  opportunity  of  intimating  that,  whatever 
the  plan  might  be,  she  must  be  the  autocrat  of  it.  "  Dr. 
Bence- Jones  has  written  to  me/'  she  said  (Sept.  27),  "  for 
a  plan.  People  seem  to  think  that  I  have  nothing  to  do 
but  to  sit  here  and  form  plans.  If  the  public  choose  to 
recognize  my  services  and  my  judgment  in  this  manner, 
they  must  leave  those  services  and  that  judgment  un- 
fettered." She  was  experiencing  enough  of  fetters  in  the 
East  to  last  her  for  a  lifetime.  An  influential  Committee  was 
formed,  on  which  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  and  Mr.  S.  C.  Hall 
served  as  honorary  secretaries,  and  it  was  decided  to  raise 
a  fund  for  the  establishment  of  some  School  for  Nurses, 
under  a  Council,  to  be  nominated  by  Miss  Nightingale.  A 
public  meeting  was  called  for  November  29,  1855,  at  Willis's 
Rooms,  "  to  give  expression  to  a  general  feeling  that  the 
services  of  Miss  Nightingale  in  the  hospitals  of  the  East 
demand  the  grateful  recognition  of  the  British  people."  The 
room  proved  far  too  small.  It  was  crowded  to  suffocation  ; 
and  never,  said  the  Times,  in  reporting  the  meeting,  had  a 
more  brilliant,  enthusiastic,  and  unanimous  gathering  been 
held  in  London. 

"  Burlington  St.,  this  29th  of  November,"  wrote  Mrs. 
Nightingale  to  Florence,  "  the  most  interesting  day  of  thy 
mother's  life.  It  is  very  late,  my  child,  but  I  cannot  go  to 
bed  without  telling  you  that  your  meeting  has  been  a  glorious 
one.  I  believe  that  you  will  be  more  indifferent  than  any 
of  us  to  your  fame,  but  be  glad  that  we  feel  this  is  a  proud 
day  for  us  ;  for  the  like  has  never  happened  before,  but  will, 
I  trust,  from  your  example,  gladden  the  hearts  of  many 
future  mothers.  One  thing  will  rejoice  you.  We  were  all 
as  anxious  as  you  were  there  that  the  good  Bracebridges' 
devoted  love  should  be  publicly  recognized,  and  Sidney 
Herbert  has  taken  this  occasion  to  do  it  most  gracefully. 
The  Duke  of  Cambridge  was  in  the  chair  and  made  a  simple, 
manly  speech.  Sidney  Herbert's  delighted  every  one. 
Lord  Stanley,  the  Duke  of  Argyll,  and  Sir  J.  Pakington  spoke 
capitally.  Monckton  Milnes  was  very  touching.  Lord 
Lansdowne  as  good  as  in  his  best  days.  All  seemed  inspired 
by  their  subject.  Par  the  and  I,  though  we  could  not  take 

270  THE  SPEECHES  PT.  n 

courage  to  go  ourselves,  staid  it  over  ;  our  informants  came 
flocking  in,  and  we  were  rewarded."  "  Fancy  if  you  can," 
wrote  Mr.  Nightingale  to  his  sister,  "  our  joy  at  the  universal 
oneness  of  the  meeting  which  has  honoured  Flo  with  its 
absolute  fiat  of  '  Well  done  '  and  well  to  do.  I  am  not  apt 
to  be  easily  satisfied  with  the  things  which  I  see  and  feel 
or  hear  or  think,  but  all  people  seem  to  agree  that  there 
was  there  nothing  wanting." 

The  speeches  deserve,  I  think,  all  that  the  proud  mother 
said  of  them.  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert's  was,  perhaps,  the  best, 
if  one  can  judge  from  the  reports  ;  and  certainly  it  is  the 
best  remembered,  for  in  the  course  of  it  he  read  out  the 
soldier's  letter,  which,  as  mentioned  already  (p.  237),  became 
famous  throughout  the  world.  But  "  the  truest  thing,"  as 
Lady  Verney  wrote  to  her  sister,  "  was  said  by  Monckton 
Milnes.  He  said  that  too  much  had  been  made  of  the 
sacrifice  of  position  and  luxury  in  your  case."  How  true 
that  was  is  known  to  all  who  have  read  the  first  part  of  this 
volume.  "  God  knows,"  said  Mr.  Milnes,  "  that  the  luxury 
of  one  good  action  must  to  a  mind  such  as  hers  be  more 
than  equivalent  for  the  loss  of  all  the  pomps  and  vanities 
of  life." 

And  Mr.  Milnes,  with  the  touch  of  a  poet  and  the  feeling 
of  a  friend,  said  another  very  true  thing.  He  drew  a  con- 
trast between  the  crowded  and  brilliant  scene  before  him, 
and  "  the  scene  which  met  the  gaze  of  that  noble  woman, 
who  was  now  devoting  herself  to  the  service  of  her  suffering 
fellow-creatures  on  the  black  shores  of  Crim  Tartary,  over- 
looking the  waters  of  the  inhospitable  sea."  She  was 
grateful  for  sympathy  ;  but  the  glitter  of  praise  and  reputa- 
tion was  as  nothing,  or  less  than  nothing,  to  her.  She  was 
wrestling  by  those  bleak  shores  with  disease  and  death, 
wrestling,  too,  with  jealousies  and  intrigues  and  other 
difficulties.  She  cared  for  no  recognition,  except  in  so  far 
as  it  could  help  her  in  her  work.  A  contribution  of  £1000 
to  her  private  fund,  sent  by  the  people  of  New  Zealand  in 
November,  greatly  pleased  her.  "  If  my  name,"  she  wrote 
to  her  parents,  "  and  my  having  done  what  I  could  for  God 
and  mankind  has  given  you  pleasure,  that  is  real  pleasure  to 
me.  My  reputation  has  not  been  a  boon  to  me  in  my  work  ; 


but  if  you  have  been  pleased,  that  is  enough.  I  shall  love 
my  name  now,  and  shall  feel  that  it  is  the  greatest  return 
that  you  can  find  satisfaction  in  hearing  your  child  named, 
and  in  feeling  that  her  work  draws  sympathies  together- 
some  return  for  what  you  have  done  for  me.  Life  is  sweet 
after  all." 

The  form  taken  by  the  memorial,  inaugurated  at  the 
public  meeting  in  Willis's  Rooms,  was  the  establishment  of  a 
"  Nightingale  Fund,"  to  enable  her  to  establish  and  control 
an  institute  for  the  training,  sustenance,  and  protection  of 
nurses,  paid  and  unpaid.  A  copy  of  the  resolution  was  sent 
to  Miss  Nightingale,  who  acknowledged  it  in  a  letter  from 
Scutari  (Jan.  6,  1856)  :  "  Dear  Mr.  Herbert — In  answer 
to  your  letter  (which  followed  me  to  the  Crimea  and  back 
to  Scutari)  proposing  to  me  the  undertaking  of  a  Training 
School  for  Nurses,  I  will  first  beg  to  say  that  it  is  impossible 
for  me  to  express  what  I  have  felt  in  regard  to  the  sympathy 
and  the  confidence  shown  to  me  by  the  originators  and  sup- 
porters of  this  scheme.  Exposed  as  I  am  to  be  misinter- 
preted and  misunderstood,  in  a  field  of  action  in  which  the 
work  is  new,  complicated,  and  distant  from  many  who  sit 
in  judgment  upon  it, — it  is  indeed  an  abiding  support  to 
have  such  sympathy  and  such  appreciation  brought  home 
to  me  in  the  midst  of  labour  and  difficulties  all  but  over- 
powering. I  must  add,  however,  that  my  present  work  is 
such  as  I  would  never  desert  for  any  other,  so  long  as  I  see 
room  to  believe  that  what  I  may  do  here  is  unfinished.  May 
I,  then,  beg  you  to  express  to  the  Committee  that  I  accept 
their  proposal,  provided  I  may  do  so  on  their  understanding 
of  this  great  uncertainty  as  to  when  it  will  be  possible  for 
me  to  carry  it  out  ?  "  x 

Public  meetings  in  support  of  the  Fund  were  held 
throughout  England  and  in  the  British  Dominions.2  Among 
the  speeches  made  at  these  meetings,  one  of  the  most  notable 
was  Lord  Stanley's  at  Manchester.  "  There  is  no  part  of 
England,"  he  said,  "  no  city  or  county,  scarcely  a  consider- 

1  Report  of  the  Nightingale  Fund,  "  Addenda,"  pp.  1-2. 

2  Reports  of  some  of  the  meetings  are  collected  in  the  Report  of  the 
Nightingale  Fund.     At  Manchester  (Jan.  17,  1856),  in  addition  to  Lord 
Stanley,  Mr.  Herbert  and  Mr.  Milnes  spoke  ;    at  Oxford  (Jan.  23),  Mr. 
Herbert  again  spoke  ;   at  Brighton  (Jan.  14),  Mr.  Milnes. 


able  village,  where  some  cottage  household  has  not  been 
comforted  amidst  its  mourning  for  the  loss  of  one  who  had 
fallen  in  the  war,  by  the  assurance  that  his  last  moments 
were  watched,  and  his  worst  sufferings  soothed,  by  that 
care,  at  once  tender  and  skilful,  which  no  man,  and  few 
women,  could  have  shown.  True  heroism  is  not  so  plentiful 
that  we  can  afford  to  let  it  pass  unrecognized — if  not  for  the 
honour  of  those  who  show  it,  yet  very  much  for  our  own. 
The  best  test  of  a  nation's  moral  state  is  the  kind  of  claim 
which  it  selects  for  honour.  And  with  the  exception  of 
Howard,  the  prison  reformer,  I  know  no  person  besides 
Miss  Nightingale,  who,  within  the  last  hundred  years, 
within  this  island,  or  perhaps  in  Europe,  has  voluntarily 
encountered  dangers  so  imminent,  and  undertaken  offices 
so  repulsive,  working  for  a  large  and  worthy  object,  in  a  pure 
spirit  of  duty  towards  God  and  compassion  for  man."  Lord 
Stanley  showed  a  true  appreciation,  too,  of  the  facts  in 
pointing  out  the  strength  of  character  which  Miss  Nightingale 
had  shown  as  a  pioneer.  "It  is  not  easy  everywhere, 
especially  in  England,  to  set  about  doing  what  no  one  has 
done  before.  Many  persons  will  undergo  considerable 
risks,  even  that  of  death  itself,  when  they  know  that  they 
are  engaged  in  a  cause  which,  besides  approving  itself  to 
their  consciences,  commands  sympathy  and  approval,  when 
they  know  that  their  motives  are  appreciated  and  their 
conduct  applauded.  But  in  this  case  custom  was  to  be 
violated,  precedent  broken  through,  the  surprise,  sometimes 
the  censure  of  the  world  to  be  braved.  And  do  not  under- 
rate that  obstacle.  We  hardly  know  the  strength  of  those 
social  ties  that  bind  us  until  the  moment  when  we  attempt 
to  break  them."  1  The  Nightingale  Fund  was  taken  up 
heartily,  but  there  was  some  carping  criticism,  and  the 
jealousies  which  attended  Miss  Nightingale's  work  found 
expression  against  the  Fund  in  her  honour.  There  were 
great  ladies  who,  strange  as  it  may  now  seem,  regarded 
the  attempt  to  raise  the  status  of  the  nursing  profession  as  a 
silly  fad.  "  Lady  Pam,"  wrote  Lord  Granville,  "  thinks 
the  Nightingale  Fund  great  humbug.  '  The  nurses  are  very 
good  now ;  perhaps  they  do  drink  a  little,  but  so  do  the 

1  Speeches  of  the  i$th  Earl  of  Derby,  1894,  vol.  i.  pp.  16,  18. 


ladies'  monthly  nurses,  and  nothing  can  be  better  than 
them  ;  poor  people,  it  must  be  so  tiresome  sitting  up  all 
night.'  "  l  The  existence  of  the  Fund  was  notified  in  General 
Orders  to  the  army  in  the  East.  "  I  hear,"  wrote  Dr. 
Robertson  at  Scutari  to  Dr.  Hall  in  the  Crimea,  "  that  you 
have  not  (any  more  than  myself)  subscribed  your  day's 
pay  to  the  Nightingale  Fund.  I  certainly  said,  the  moment 
it  appeared  in  Orders,  I  would  not  do  so,  and  thereby 
countenance  what  I  disapproved.  Others  may  do  as  they 
please,  but  though  Linton,  Cruikshanks,  and  Lawson  have 
all  subscribed,  I  believe  the  subscriptions  in  the  hospital 
are  not  many  or  large."  2  But  this  disgruntlement  of 
the  doctors  was  not  shared  by  the  troops,  who  subscribed 
nearly  £9000  to  the  Fund.  The  Commander  of  the  Forces, 
in  sending  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Fund  a  first  remittance 
of  £4000  from  "  Headquarters,  Crimea,"  wrote  (Febru- 
ary 5,  1856)  that  this  amount,  "  the  result  of  voluntary 
individual  offerings,  plainly  indicates  the  universal 
feeling  of  gratitude  which  exists  among  the  troops 
engaged  in  the  Crimea  for  the  care  bestowed  upon,  and 
the  relief  administered  to,  themselves  and  their  comrades, 
at  the  period  of  their  greatest  sufferings,  by  the  skilful 
arrangements,  and  the  unwearying,  constant  personal 
attention,  of  Miss  Nightingale  and  the  other  ladies  associated 
with  her."  The  Navy  and  the  Coastguard  Service  sub- 
scribed also.  Nor  was  "  society  "  all  on  the  side  of  Lady 
Palmerston.  A  concert  given  by  Madame  Goldschmidt 
(Jenny  Lind)  brought  in  nearly  £2000.  The  ultimate 
application  of  the  Fund  did  not  follow  precisely  the  lines 
originally  proposed,  but  it  was  the  means  of  enabling  Miss 
Nightingale  to  do  one  of  the  most  useful  pieces  of  her 
life's  work.3 

The  sympathy  and  interest  of  the  Royal  Family  in  Miss 
Nightingale's  work  had  been  shown  by  the  presence  of  the 
Duke  of  Cambridge  in  the  chair  at  Willis's  Rooms  ;  but 
the  Queen  desired  to  associate  herself  in  some  more  direct 
and  signal  measure  with  "  the  grateful  recognition  "  by  her 

1  Fitzmaurice,  Life  of  the  Second  Earl  Granville,  vol.  i.  p.  136. 

2  Hall,  p.  449. 
3  See  below,  p.  456. 
VOL.  I  T 


people.     A  few  weeks  after  the  Public  Meeting  the  following 
letter  was  sent : — 

WINDSOR  CASTLE  [November  1855]. x  DEAR  Miss  NIGHT- 
INGALE— You  are,  I  know,  well  aware  of  the  high  sense  I  enter- 
tain of  the  Christian  devotion  which  you  have  displayed  during 
this  great  and  bloody  war,  and  I  need  hardly  repeat  to  you  how 
warm  my  admiration  is  for  your  services,  which  are  fully  equal 
to  those  of  my  dear  and  brave  soldiers,  whose  sufferings  you  have 
had  the  privilege  of  alleviating  in  so  merciful  a  manner.  I  am, 
however,  anxious  of  marking  my  feelings  in  a  manner  which  I 
trust  will  be  agreeable  to  you,  and  therefore  send  you  with  this 
letter  a  brooch,  the  form  and  emblems  of  which  commemorate 
your  great  and  blessed  work,  and  which,  I  hope,  you  will  wear  as 
a  mark  of  the  high  approbation  of  your  Sovereign  ! 

It  will  be  a  very  great  satisfaction  to  me,  when  you  return 
at  last  to  these  shores,  to  make  the  acquaintance  of  one  who  has 
set  so  bright  an  example  to  our  sex.  And  with  every  prayer  for 
the  preservation  of  your  valuable  health,  believe  me,  always, 
yours  sincerely,  VICTORIA  R. 

The  jewel,  which  was  designed  by  the  Prince  Consort, 
resembles  a  badge  rather  than  a  brooch,  bearing  a  St. 
George's  Cross  in  red  enamel,  and  the  Royal  cypher  sur- 
mounted by  a  crown  in  diamonds.  The  inscription, 
"  Blessed  are  the  Merciful,"  encircles  the  badge,  which  also 
bears  the  word  "  Crimea."  On  the  reverse  is  the  inscrip- 
tion :  "To  Miss  Florence  Nightingale,  as  a  mark  of  esteem 
and  gratitude  for  her  devotion  towards  the  Queen's  brave 
soldiers.— From  Victoria  R.,  1855." 

"  I  hope,"  wrote  Lady  Verney  (Dec.  27,  1855),  "  you  will 
wear  your  Star  to  please  the  soldiers  on  Sundays  and  holi- 
days ;  because,  judging  from  those  at  home,  it  will  be  such  a 
pleasure  to  them  to  know  that  the  Queen  has  done  her  best 
to  do  you  honour."  At  home,  Miss  Nightingale  never  wore 
the  decoration.  She  wore  it  in  the  East,  on  one  occasion 
certainly  (p.  296) ;  and  possibly  on  other  occasions.  If  so, 
it  would  have  been  for  the  reason  suggested  by  her  sister. 

1  Wrongly  dated  "  January  1856  "  in  Letters  of  Queen  Victoria,  vol.  iii. 
p.  215.  The  gift  was  announced  in  the  Morning  Post  of  December  20, 
1855  ;  the  brooch  reached  Miss  Nightingale  in  November,  and  her  reply 
had  been  received  by  Dec.  21  (see  below,  p.  278).  An  illustrated  account 
of  the  gift  appeared  in  the  Illustrated  London  News,  Feb.  2, 1856.  It  may 
now  be  seen  in  the  Museum  of  the  United  Service  Institution. 

CH.X       HONOUR  AS  A  MEANS  TO  SERVICE        275 

She  loved  the  soldiers.  Honours  and  reputation,  so  far  as 
they  were  valued  by  her  at  all  (and  that  was  little),  were 
valued  only  as  a  means  to  the  end  of  further  service.  With 
what  zeal,  and  to  what  good  purpose,  she  was  now  devoting 
herself  to  serve  the  best  interests  of  the  common  soldier, 
we  shall  learn  in  the  next  chapter. 



'•  Human  nature  is  a  noble  and  beautiful  thing  ;  not  a  foul  nor  a  base 
thing.  All  the  sin  of  men  I  esteem  as  their  disease,  not  their  nature  ;  as  a 
folly  which  can  be  prevented,  not  a  necessity  which  must  be  accepted. 
And  my  wonder,  even  when  things  are  at  their  worst,  is  always  at  the 
height  which  this  human  nature  can  attain. — RUSKIN. 

"  WHAT  the  horrors  of  war  are,"  wrote  Miss  Nightingale  on 
her  way  to  the  Crimea  in  May  1855,*  "  no  one  can  imagine. 
They  are  not  wounds,  and  blood,  and  fever,  spotted  and  low, 
and  dysentery,  chronic  and  acute,  and  cold  and  heat  and 
famine.  They  are  intoxication,  drunken  brutality,  demoral- 
ization and  disorder  on  the  part  of  the  inferior  ;  jealousies, 
meanness,  indifference,  selfish  brutality  on  the  part  of  the 
superior."  Then  she  goes  on  to  deplore  the  drunkenness  she 
had  witnessed  at  the  Depot,  and  the  seeming  indifference  of 
the  staff  to  it.  And  yet,  as  her  experience  had  shown,  the 
men  were  quickly  susceptible  to  better  influences.  !t  We 
have  established  a  reading-room  for  convalescents,  which  is 
well  attended  ;  and  the  conduct  of  the  soldiers  is  uniformly 
good.  I  believe  that  we  have  been  the  most  efficient  means 
of  restoring  discipline  instead  of  destroying  it,  as  I  have 
been  accused  of.  They  are  much  more  respectful  to  me 
than  they  are  to  their  own  officers.  But  it  makes  me  cry 
to  think  that  all  these  6  months  we  might  have  had  a 
trained  schoolmaster,  and  that  I  was  told  it  was  quite 
impossible ;  that  in  the  Indian  army  effectual  and  successful 
measures  are  taken  to  prevent  intoxication  and  disorganization, 
and  that  here  the  Convalescents  are  brought  in  emphatically 
dead  drunk  (for  they  die  of  it),  and  officers  look  on  with 

1  In  continuation  of  the  letter  quoted  above,  p.  255. 

CH.  xi          DRUNKENNESS  AT  THE  DEPOT  277 

composure  and  say  to  me,  '  You  are  spoiling  the  brutes/ 
The  men  are  so  glad  to  read,  so  glad  to  give  their  money." 
This  passage  serves  to  introduce  us  to  a  side  of  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's work  which  occupied  much  of  her  thoughts  and  activi- 
ties during  the  latter  portion  of  her  sojourn  in  the  East.  Her 
work  in  tending  the  sick  bodies  of  the  soldiers  is  that  which 
is  best  known,  but  her  work  in  appealing  to  their  moral  and 
mental  nature  was  not  less  admirable,  and  hardly  less  novel. 
A  high  authority,  who  had  been  through  the  war,  said  of 
her  at  the  time,  "  She  has  taught  officers  and  officials  to 
treat  the  soldiers  as  Christian  men."  Not  every  officer 
needed  thus  to  be  lessoned,  but  Miss  Nightingale's  example, 
and  the  practical  experiments  which  directly  or  indirectly 
she  set  on  foot  during  the  Crimean  War,  did  much  to  human- 
ize the  British  Army.  She  deserves  to  be  remembered  as 
the  Soldiers'  Friend  no  less  than  as  the  Ministering  Angel. 

Miss  Nightingale,  like  all  moral  and  social  reformers, 
believed  in  the  nobility  of  human  nature.  She  had  seen  in 
the  hospital  wards  at  Scutari,  and  in  the  trenches  before 
Sebastopol,  the  heroism  of  which  the  common  soldier  was 
capable.  She  refused  to  believe  that  the  vices  to  which 
he  was  prone  were  inherent  in  his  nature.  "  I  have  never 
been  able  to  join,"  she  wrote  to  Lady  Verney  from  Scutari 
(March  1856),  "  in  the  popular  cry  about  the  recklessness, 
sensuality,  and  helplessness  of  the  soldiers.  On  the  contrary 
I  should  say  (and  perhaps  few  women  have  ever  seen  more  of 
the  manufacturing  and  agricultural  classes  of  England  than 
I  have  before  I  came  out  here)  that  I  have  never  seen  so 
teachable  and  helpful  a  class  as  the  Army  generally.  Give 
them  opportunity  promptly  and  securely  to  send  money 
home  and  they  will  use  it.  Give  them  schools  and  lectures 
and  they  will  come  to  them.  Give  them  books  and  games 
and  amusements  and  they  will  leave  off  drinking.  Give 
them  suffering  and  they  will  bear  it.  Give  them  work  and 
they  will  do  it.  I  had  rather  have  to  do  with  the  Army 
generally  than  with  any  other  class  I  have  ever  attempted  to 
serve."  It  was  a  common  belief  of  the  time  that  it  was  in  the 
nature  of  the  British  soldier  to  be  drunken.  The  same  idea 
was  entertained  of  the  British  nurse.1  She  utterly  refused 
1  See  above,  p.  273. 


to  believe  it,  and  she  set  herself,  in  her  determined  and 
resourceful  way,  to  put  measures  of  reform  into  practice. 


Miss  Nightingale,  as  I  have  already  explained  (p.  215), 
had  the  ear  of  the  Court,  and  she  took  an  opportunity  of 
laying  her  views  before  the  Queen.  The  immediate  sequel 
is  told  in  a  letter  from  Lord  Granville  to  Lord  Canning  :— 

Dec.  21  [1855].  In  the  Cabinet  an  interesting  letter  was  read 
from  Miss  Nightingale  thanking  the  Queen  for  a  handsome  present, 
and  discussing  the  causes  and  remedies  for  the  drunkenness  in  the 
army.  Pam  thought  it  excellent.  Clarendon  said  it  was  full 
of  real  stuff,  but  Mars  said  it  only  showed  that  she  knew  nothing 
of  the  British  soldier.1 

But  Lord  Panmure,  though  a  believer  in  the  original  sin 
of  the  soldier,  was  moved  none  the  less  by  the  forces  thus 
set  in  motion  to  sanction  some  useful  measures  of  reform. 
Miss  Nightingale,  however,  had  not  waited  for  official  action. 
That  was  never  her  way.  When  she  wanted  a  thing  done, 
she  showed  on  such  scale  as  was  possible  to  her  how  to  do  it. 

Her  first  endeavour  was  to  help  and  encourage  the 
soldiers  in  sending  home  a  portion  at  least  of  their  pay.  She 
formed  an  extempore  Money  Order  Office,  in  which,  on  four 
afternoons  in  each  month,  she  received  the  money  of  any 
soldier  who  desired  to  send  it  home  to  his  family.  About 
£1000  was  thus  received  monthly  in  small  sums,  which,  by 
post-office  orders  obtained  in  England,  were  transmitted  to 
their  several  recipients.  Her  uncle,  Mr.  Samuel  Smith, 
undertook  the  English  agency  for  her.  After  the  Cabinet 
Council,  just  described,  Lord  Panmure  wrote  to  the  Com- 
mander of  the  Forces  in  the  Crimea,  adverting  to  Miss 
Nightingale's  "  cry,"  and  remarking  that  if  a  soldier  wanted 
to  send  money  home  he  could  do  so  through  the  Paymaster, 
but  adding  that  it  had  been  decided  to  increase  the  facilities. 
In  the  following  month  (January  1856)  the  Government 
accepted  the  hint  of  Miss  Nightingale's  private  initiative 
and  established  offices  for  money  orders  at  Constantinople, 

1  Lord  Fitzmaurice's  Life  of  the  Second  Earl  Granville,  vol.  i.  p.  133. 


Scutari,  Balaclava,  and  "  Headquarters,  Crimea.'*  "  It  will 
do  no  good/'  wrote  "  Mars,"  convinced  against  his  will ; 
"  the  soldier  is  not  a  remitting  animal."  *  But  in  fact, 
during  the  following  six  months,  a  sum  of  £71,000  was  sent 
home.2  Miss  Nightingale  felt  much  satisfaction  in  having 
been  the  means  of  "  rescuing  this  money  from  the  canteen." 
She  was  instrumental  also  in  establishing  a  rival  house, 
named,  after  a  soldiers'  battle,  the  "  Inkerman  Cafe*."  This 
was  pleasantly  situated  close  to  the  shore  of  the  Bosphorus, 
midway  between  the  main  hospitals  at  Scutari.  Miss 
Nightingale  devoted  much  attention  to  the  details  of  this 
coffee-house,  and  framed  the  list  of  prices.  In  all  such 
work  for  the  good  of  the  soldiers,  she  found  a  cordial  sup- 
porter in  Sir  Henry  Storks,  who  had  succeeded  Lord  William 
Paulet  in  the  command  at  Scutari  in  the  latter  part  of  1855. 
Sir  Henry  agreed  with  her,  as  he  wrote,  "  that  drunkenness 
can  be  made  the  exception,  not  the  rule,  in  the  Army  "  ; 
and  in  later  years  he  referred  in  grateful  recollection  to  the 
time  when  "  we  served  together  at  Scutari." 

Her  personal  influence  with  the  men  was  great.  "  I 
promised  Her  I  would  not  drink,"  or  "  I  promised  Her  to 
send  my  money  home,"  they  would  say,  "  in  such  a  tone," 
as  Mr.  Stafford  recorded,  "  as  if  it  were  ingrained  in  the  very 
stuff  of  them."  A  curious  and,  as  I  think  the  reader  will 
agree  with  me,  a  pretty  illustration  of  this  side  of  Miss 
Nightingale's  work,  was  brought  under  my  notice  during 
the  preparation  of  this  Memoir.  On  January  23, 1856,  Miss 
Nightingale  wrote  the  following  letter  from  Scutari  to  the 
Rev.  R.  Glover,  then  Chaplain  to  the  Forces  at  Maidstone  : — 

In  reply  to  yours  of  Jan.  10 — I  have  the  pleasure  to  inform 
you  that  I  have  just  seen  Thomas  Whybron,  I2th  Lancers,  and 
that  he  has  promised  me  that  he  will  not  only  write  to  his  wife, 
but  transmit  money  to  her  through  me  after  ist  of  next  month, 
when  he  will  receive  his  pay.  I  trust  he  will  keep  his  word. 
She  had  better  also  write  to  him  herself,  and  send  her  letter 
through  me.  He  tells  me  that  he  has  had  one  letter  from  her. 
However  he  is  well,  but  he  has  been  in  debt.  However  he 
sends  his  wife  a  kind  message  of  love,  which  he  begs  me  to  give 
her  through  you,  and  to  beg  that  she  will  not  come  out  here.  I 

1  Panmure,  vol.  ii.  p.  28.  2  Statement,  p.  v. 


am  myself  of  this  opinion.  Independently  of  the  fact  that,  at 
this  moment,  I  could  not  possibly  receive  any  more  nurses, 
there  are  many  reasons  against  bringing  out  more  soldiers'  wives 
here,  which  you  will  readily  apprehend.  With  regard  to  the 
Regiment,  I  consider  the  I2th  Lancers  the  most  "  respectable  " 
Regiment  we  have.  They  send  home  more  money  and  put  it 
to  better  uses  than  all  the  other  Regiments  here  put  together. 
And  I  hope  that  Whybron  will  improve  in  it. 

In  January  1912  Lieutenant -Colonel  Clifton  Brown, 
commanding  the  I2th  Royal  Lancers,  then  quartered  at 
Potchefstroom  in  the  Transvaal,  bought  the  original  of  this 
letter,  "  beautifully  written,  not  a  blot  or  a  scratch  in  it," 
framed  it  with  glass  on  both  sides,  and  presented  it  to  his 
regiment.  Thus  may  an  echo  of  Miss  Nightingale's  care  for 
the  British  soldier  and  pride  in  his  good  name  roll  from  soul 
to  soul,  and  grow  for  ever  and  for  ever. 


Then  Miss  Nightingale  set  herself  to  establish  and  equip 
reading-rooms  and  class-rooms.  She  took  measures  to  let 
her  schemes  be  made  known  in  England,  and  the  popularity 
of  the  heroine  led  to  a  speedy  and  generous  response  from 
all  classes — from  the  Royal  Family  to  the  humblest  printer's 
boy.  Miss  Nightingale's  relations  at  home  received,  and 
transmitted  to  her,  the  gifts.  Her  cousin,  Mr.  Henry 
Bonham  Carter,  was  especially  useful.  "  Harry  Carter," 
she  wrote  (Jan.  6,  1856),  "  must  be  a  man  of  business  ;  for  I 
can  assure  you  that  the  boxes  he  sent  me  are  the  only  ones 
which  have  not  lost  me  hours  of  unnecessary  labour,  because 
he  has  given  me  invoices  of  the  contents  of  each  box  and 
bills  of  lading."  Her  sister  was  receiver-general,  and  from 
Lady  Verney's  letters  we  obtain  a  lively  account  of  the 
work  : — 

(To  Miss  Ellen  Toilet.}  [Nov.  1855.]  I  don't  know  whether 
Mrs.  Milnes  told  you  how  hard  we  worked  to  send  off  boxes  for 
F.'s  education  of  the  army  !  let  me  tell  you,  Ma'am,  to  instruct 
50,000  men  is  no  joke.  Seriously  tho',  my  love,  it  is  small  things 
any  one  can  do  amid  such  a  mass,  which  made  one  the  more 
anxious  to  enable  her  to  do  what  she  could,  and  we  have  sent  a  dose 
of  1000  copybooks,  writing  materials  in  proportion,  Diagrams, 

CH.XI       "THE  EDUCATION  OF  THE  ARMY "         281 

Maps,  books  illustrated  and  other.  Macbeth  (6)  to  read  6  at  a 
time,  and  the  music  in  the  interludes,  which  Mr.  Best  (a  pattern 
man  whom  I  love  more  even  than  the  Dean  of  H.)  recommended 
as  having  been  successful  in  his  village.  Chess,  Footballs,  other 
games,  a  magic  Lanthern  for  Dissolving  views,  a  Stereoscope  (very 
fine  !),  plays  for  acting,  music,  &c.  &c.  Finally  I  thought  a  little 
art  would  be  advisable,  and  had  a  number  of  prints  stretched  and 
varnished  which  are  to  be  my  subscription  towards  the  improve- 
ment of  the  British  army ! 

But,  my  dear,  you  can't  conceive  how  pretty  the  sort  of  help 
is  that  everybody  poured  in  ;  the  P.  &  O.  says,  nothing  is  to  be 
paid,  Miss  N.'s  things  all  go  free. 

(To  Florence  Nightingale.}  [Nov.  16, 1855.]  Please,  my  dear, 
acknowledge  a  print  which  the  Queen  sends  you  for  the  soldiers. 
She  heard  thro'  Lady  Augusta  Bruce  that  you  had  asked 
for  one  of  her  for  the  "  Inkerman  Cafe  "  ;  and  she  accordingly 
sends  you  the  one  of  the  Duke  of  Wellington  presenting  May 
flowers  to  the  little  Prince  Arthur  his  godson ;  which  is  very 
pretty  of  her,  for  it  combines  so  many  things.  It  is  sent  to  you 
to  do  what  you  like  with,  so  I  have  said  you  most  likely  will  wish 
to  have  it  at  Balaclava  for  your  Reading  Room  plans.  We  have 
been  racking  our  brains  to  get  together  amusing  things  for  your 
men.  ...  To  mitigate  the  science  I  have  slipped  in  the  Madonna 
of  the  Sedia ;  which,  my  love,  is  domestic,  if  you  please,  not 
Popish.  The  Duchess  of  Kent  sends  a  capital  lot  of  books  ;  she 
has  been  so  pleased  to  be  of  use. 

Both  in  the  Crimea  and  at  Scutari  Miss  Nightingale 
carried  on,  as  opportunity  offered,  what  her  sister  laughingly 
called  "  the  education  of  the  British  Army."  But  it  was  at 
Scutari,  where  she  principally  stayed,  that  the  effort  took 
the  largest  scope.  Outside  the  Barrack  Hospital  a  building 
was  bought  by  Sir  Henry  Storks,  on  behalf  of  the  Govern- 
ment, to  provide  a  reading-room  and  a  school-room.  The 
reading-room,  opened  in  January  1856,  was  supplied  by 
Miss  Nightingale  with  books,  prints,  maps,  games,  and 
newspapers.  The  other  room  was  used  as  a  garrison  school ; 
two  schoolmasters  were  sent  out ;  and  evening  lectures  and 
classes  were  given.  A  second  school  was  conducted  in  a  hut 
between  the  two  large  hospitals  at  Scutari.1  For  the  con- 
valescents, Miss  Nightingale  had  at  an  earlier  date  estab- 

1  I  take  these  particulars  from  a  Memorandum,  found  among  Miss 
Nightingale's  papers,  by  the  Rev.  J.  E.  Sabin,  Senior  Chaplain  at  Scutari. 


lished  reading-huts  in  the  Barrack  Hospital,  furnishing  them 
with  books,  newspapers,  writing  materials,  prints,  and 
games.  In  all  the  reading-huts  the  men  attended  numer- 
ously and  constantly,  their  behaviour  when  there  being, 
Miss  Nightingale  added,  uniformly  quiet  and  well-bred. 
The  good  manners,  no  less  than  the  uncomplaining  heroism 
of  the  common  soldier,  made  an  indelible  impression  upon 
the  Lady-in-Chief. 

It  was  out  of  her  experiences  in  the  Crimean  War  that 
grew  her  love  for  the  British  soldier,  to  whose  health,  care, 
and  comfort,  at  home  and  in  India,  she  was  to  devote  many 
years  of  her  long  life.  In  extreme  old  age,  when  failing 
powers  were  not  equally  alert  to  every  call,  she  would  some- 
times, I  have  been  told,  show  listlessness  if  her  companion 
talked  of  nurses  or  nursing,  but  the  old  light  would  ever 
come  into  her  eye,  and  the  faltering  mind  would  instantly 
stand  at  attention,  upon  the  slightest  reference  to  the  British 


(September  1855- July  1856) 

I  am  ready  to  stand  out  the  War  with  any  man. — FLORENCE  NIGHTIN- 
GALE (Nov.  4,  1855). 

ON  September  8,  1855,  Sebastopol  fell,  after  assaults,  as 
every  one  remembers,  which  had  filled  the  British  cemeteries 
and  hospitals.  Miss  Nightingale's  time  from  this  date  to 
the  end  of  the  war  was  divided  between  the  Crimea  and 
Scutari.  On  October  9,  1855,  she  left  Scutari  for  Balaclava, 
and  she  remained  in  the  Crimea  till  the  end  of  November, 
when  she  hurried  back  to  Scutari  on  hearing  of  a  serious 
outbreak  of  cholera  in  the  Barrack  Hospital  at  that  place. 
On  Good  Friday,  1856  (March  21),  she  again  left  Scutari  for 
Balaclava,  in  consequence  of  an  urgent  appeal  from  the 
hospitals  of  the  Land  Transport  Corps,  and  she  remained 
there  till  the  beginning  of  July.  She  left  Scutari  for  England 
on  July  28. 

Miss  Nightingale's  work  during  her  second  and  third 
visits  to  the  Crimea  (of  two  months  in  1855,  and  of  three  in 
1856)  was  the  most  arduous,  and  in  some  respects  the  most 
worrying,  of  all  her  labours  in  the  East.  The  distances 
between  the  several  Crimean  hospitals,  enumerated  in  an 
earlier  chapter  (p.  254),  were  great ;  how  bad  were  the  roads 
is  known  to  every  one  who  has  read  anything  about  the 
Crimean  War  ;  and  Miss  Nightingale  experienced  much  of 
the  rigour  of  a  Crimean  winter.  "  The  extraordinary  exer- 
tions she  imposed  upon  herself  would  have  been  perfectly 
incredible,"  wrote  M.  Soyer,  "  if  they  had  not  been  witnessed 


284       MISS  NIGHTINGALE  IN  THE  CRIMEA      PT.  n 

by  'many.  I  can  vouch  for  the  fact,  having  frequently 
accompanied  her  to  the  [Castle]  Hospital  as  well  as  to  the 
Monastery.  The  return  from  these  places  at  night  was  a 
very  dangerous  experience,  as  the  road  led  across  a  very 
uneven  country.  It  was  still  more  perilous  when  snow  was 
upon  the  ground.  I  have  seen  her  stand  for  hours  at  the 
top  of  a  bleak  rocky  mountain  near  the  Hospital,  giving  her 
instructions  while  the  snow  was  falling  heavily."  She  had 
for  some  years  been  somewhat  subject  to  rheumatism, 
and  in  the  Crimea  she  was  at  times  tortured  by  sciatica. 
But  she  was  "  acclimatised,"  she  said,  and  was  strong  to 
endure.  Sometimes  she  spent  long  days  in  the  saddle. 
At  other  times  she  drove  in  a  rough  cart.  Her  first  con- 
veyance was  a  cart — drawn  by  a  mule  and  driven,  adds 
the  lively  Soyer,  by  a  donkey ;  and  she  suffered  a  nasty 
upset  in  it.  Colonel  McMurdo,  Commandant  of  the  Land 
Transport  Corps,1  then  kindly  gave  her  the  best  vehicle 
procurable.  It  has  been  dignified  by  the  name  of  "  Miss 
Nightingale's  Carriage,"  but  was,  in  fact,  a  hooded 
baggage-car  without  springs.2  Some  time  later  M.  Soyer 
identified  the  vehicle  among  other  "  Crimean  effects " 
which  were  on  sale  at  Southampton.  It  was  shown  at  the 
Victorian  Era  Exhibition  forty  years  later,3  and  is  still  pre- 
served at  Lea  Hurst. 

In  this  hooded  vehicle,  or  on  horseback,  or  if  the  roads 
were  very  bad  on  foot,  Miss  Nightingale  made  her  rounds  in 
all  weathers,  her  headquarters  being  sometimes  at  the  General 
and  sometimes  at  the  Castle  Hospital.  She  never  presumed 
on  her  sex  to  save  herself  trouble  or  fatigue  at  the  expense 
of  others.  She  was  now  without  Mr.  Bracebridge's  assist- 
ance, but  she  found  that  the  absence  of  a  civilian  go-between 
was  no  disadvantage.  "  A  woman,"  she  said,  "  obtains 
from  military  courtesy  (if  she  does  not  shock  either  their 
habits  of  business  or  their  caste  prejudices)  what  a  man 
who  pitted  the  civilian  against  the  military  effectually 

1  Sir   William   Montagu    Scott   McMurdo    (1819-94)  .'     K.C.B.    1881. 
Miss  Nightingale  had  a  very  high  opinion  of  his  services  in  the  Crimea,  and 
Sidney  Herbert  appointed  him  Inspector-General  of  the  Volunteers  (see 
Miss  Nightingale's  Letter  on  the  Volunteers,  1861). 

2  A  woodcut  of  it  appeared  in  the  Illustrated  London  News,  August  30, 

8  See  Vol.  II.  p.  409. 


hindered."  She  superintended  the  nursing  in  all  the 
hospitals  under  her  orders.  Of  the  hospital  huts  on  the 
Genoese  Heights,  there  is  a  vivid  picture  in  Lady  Hornby's 
Travels.  "  The  first  day  of  our  arrival,"  she  wrote,  May 
1856,  "  we  took  a  long  ramble  on  the  heights  of  Balaclava, 
by  the  old  Genoese  castle.  On  one  side  is  a  solitary  and 
magnificent  view  of  sea  and  cliffs  ;  but  pass  a  sharp  and  lofty 
turning,  and  the  crowded  port  beneath,  and  all  the  active 
military  movements,  are  instantly  before  your  eyes.  Higher 
up  we  came  to  Miss  Nightingale's  hospital  huts,  built  of 
long  planks,  and  adorned  with  neatly  bordering  flowers. 
The  sea  was  glistening  before  us,  and  as  we  lingered  to  ad- 
mire the  fine  view,  one  of  the  nurses,  a  kind,  motherly-looking 
woman,  came  into  the  little  porch,  and  invited  us  to  enter 
and  rest.  A  wooden  stool  was  kindly  offered  to  us  by 
another  and  younger  Sister.  On  the  large  deal  table  was 
a  simple  pot  of  wild  flowers,  so  beautifully  arranged,  they 
instantly  struck  my  eye.  How  charming  the  little  deal 
house  appeared  to  me,  with  its  perfect  cleanliness,  its  glori- 
ous view,  and  the  health,  contentment,  and  usefulness  of  its 
inmates  !  How  respectable  their  few  wants  seemed  ;  how 
suited  their  simple  dress  to  the  stern  realities,  as  well  as  to 
the  charities  of  life,  and  how  fearlessly  they  reposed  on  the 
care  and  love  of  God  in  that  lonely  place,  far  away  from  all 
their  friends  ;  how  earnestly  they  admired  and  tended  the 
few  spring  flowers  of  a  strange  land,1  these  brave,  quiet 
women,  who  had  witnessed  and  helped  to  relieve  so  much 
suffering  !  This  was  the  pleasant est  visit  I  ever  made.  Miss 
Nightingale  had  been  there  but  a  few  days  before,  and 
this  deal  room  and  stool  were  hers."  2  Miss  Nightingale 
established  reading-rooms,  bored  for  water  to  improve  the 
supply  near  the  hospitals,  had  the  huts  covered  with  felt 
for  protection  against  the  winter,  and  brought  her  extra- 
diet  kitchens,  with  M.  Soyer's  good  help,  into  full  efficiency. 
In  her  absence  the  work  had  met  with  many  difficulties 
from  the  supineness  or  hostility  of  officials  towards  what 
some  regarded  as  her  fads,  and  others  as  her  interference. 
"  In  April,"  she  wrote  to  Mrs.  Herbert  from  the  Castle 

1  For  another  reference  to  the  Crimean  flowers,  see  below,  p.  450. 
z  Hornby,  pp.  306-7. 

286         HOSTILITY  TO  MISS  NIGHTINGALE        PT.  n 

Hospital  (Nov.  17,  1855),  "  I  undertook  this  Hospital,  and 
from  that  time  to  this  we  cooked  all  the  Extra  Diet  for  500 
to  600  patients,  and  the  whole  diet  for  all  the  wounded 
officers  by  ourselves  in  a  shed  ;  and  though  I  sent  up  a 
French  cook  in  July  to  whom  I  gave  £100  a  year,  I  could  not 
get  an  Extra  Diet  Kitchen  built,  promised  me  in  May,  till 
I  came  up  this  time  to  do  it  myself  in  October.  During  the 
whole  of  this  time,  every  egg,  every  bit  of  butter,  jelly,  ale, 
and  Eau  de  Cologne  which  the  sick  officers  have  had  has 
been  provided  out  of  Mrs.  Samuel  Smith's  or  my  private 
pocket.  On  Nov.  4  I  opened  my  Extra  Diet  Kitchen." 


Miss  Nightingale's  work  in  the  Crimea  was  attended  by 
ceaseless  worry.  She  had  to  fight  her  way  into  full  authority. 
She  knew  that  she  would  win,  but  her  enemies  were  active, 
and  were  for  the  moment  in  possession  of  the  field.  "  There 
is  not  an  official,"  she  said,  "  who  would  not  burn  me  like 
Joan  of  Arc  if  he  could,  but  they  know  that  the  War  Office 
cannot  turn  me  out  because  the  country  is  with  me."  She 
was  beset  with  jealousies  in  the  Crimea,  both  in  military  and 
in  medical  quarters  ;  and  to  make  matters  worse,  religious, 
and  even  racial  animosities  mixed  themselves  up  in  the 
disputes.  Lord  Raglan,  who  believed  in  her  and  always 
supported  her,  was  now  dead ;  and  by  some  strange  omis- 
sion, the  instructions  which  had  been  sent  to  him  from 
London  at  the  time  of  her  original  appointment  were  un- 
known to  his  successors  in  the  command.  The  words  in  the 
published  instructions — "  in  Turkey  " — gave  a  sort  of  tech- 
nical excuse  (as  already  mentioned)  to  jealous  officials  for 
regarding  Miss  Nightingale  as  an  interloper  in  the  Crimea. 
The  point,  however,  had  no  substance  ;  for  there  was  a 
female  nursing  establishment  already  in  the  Crimea,  which 
had  received  no  separate  or  independent  instructions,  and 
which  was  yet  supported  by  Government.  By  what 
authority  could  it  be  there,  except  as  delegated  from  the 
Lady  Superintendent  in  Chief  ?  But  the  intrusion  of  Miss 
Nightingale  was,  I  suppose,  resented  by  some  military 
officers  the  more  at  Balaclava  than  at  Scutari,  in  proportion 


as  the  scene  was  nearer  to  the  front ;  how  keen  the  resent- 
ment was,  we  have  heard  from  Colonel  Sterling.  And  as 
Headquarters  were  unsympathetic  also,  Miss  Nightingale 
had  an  uphill  task.  "  We  get  things  done  all  the  same," 
she  wrote  to  Mrs.  Herbert,  "  only  a  little  more  slowly. 
When  we  have  support  at  Headquarters  matters  advance 
faster,  that  is  all.  The  real  grievance  against  us  is  that, 
though  subordinate  to  the  Medical  Chiefs  in  Office,  we  are 
superior  to  them  in  influence  and  in  the  chance  of  being  heard 
at  home.  It  is  an  anomaly,  but  so  is  war  in  England." 
There  had  been  in  England  no  due  provision  for  all  the 
needs  of  the  war.  Miss  Nightingale,  seeing  things  that 
needed  to  be  done,  preferred  to  get  them  done  by  anomalous 
means  rather  than  that  by  rule  they  should  not  be  done  at 

That  her  analysis  of  the  situation  correctly  explains 
the  jealousy  and  opposition  of  the  Medical  Chiefs  in  Office 
may  be  gathered  from  their  correspondence.  The  personal 
situation  in  the  Crimea  had  not  been  eased  by  the  statements 
of  Mr.  Bracebridge,  already  mentioned  (p.  213).  On  his 
return  home,  he  had  not  only  extolled  Miss  Nightingale, 
but  had  made  severe  strictures  upon  the  whole  medical 
service  in  the  East.  His  speech,  delivered  at  a  public 
meeting,  was  reported  very  fully  in  the  Times  (Oct.  16, 
1855).  Miss  Nightingale  was  doubtless  suspected  of  com- 
plicity in  this  attack  ;  but  in  fact  she  was  innocent,  and  she 
was  quite  as  angry  as  were  the  doctors  when  she  saw  the 
report.  Mr.  Bracebridge  was  her  friend,  but  truth  and 
expediency  were  greater  friends ;  and  she  proceeded  to 
give  Mr.  Bracebridge  a  trenchant  piece  of  her  mind  (Nov. 
4).  She  objected  to  his  speech  :  "  First,  because  it  is  not 
our  business,  and  I  have  expressly  denied  being  a  medical 
officer,  and  rejected  all  applications  both  of  medical  men  and 
quacks  to  have  their  systems  examined  1  ;  secondly,  because 
it  justifies  all  the  attacks  made  against  us  for  unwarrantable 
interference  and  criticism  ;  and,  thirdly,  because  I  believe 
it  to  be  utterly  unfair."  And  she  proceeded  in  much  detail 
to  defend  the  doctors  against  Mr.  Bracebridge's  aspersions. 
His  indiscretion  doubtless  raised  prejudice  in  medical 

1  There  are  applications  of  the  kind  among  Miss  Nightingale's  papers. 


quarters  against  Miss  Nightingale  ;  but  there  were  other 
and  deeper  causes  at  work.  Dr.  Hall,  the  Principal  Medical 
Officer  in  the  Crimea,  was,  in  some  sort,  the  person  most 
responsible,  individually,  for  the  state  of  things  which  had 
stirred  so  much  outcry  in  England  ;  and  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert 
at  a  very  early  stage  had  put  his  finger  on  Dr.  Hall's  touchy 
spot.  "  I  cannot  help  feeling,"  he  had  written  to  Lord 
Raglan  in  December  1854,  "  tnat  Dr-  Hall  resents  offers 
of  assistance  as  being  slurs  on  his  preparations."  *  Dr. 
Hall  wrote  fiercely  about  "  a  system  of  detraction 
against  our  establishments  kept  up  by  interested  parties 
under  the  garb  of  philanthropy."  Some  became  detractors, 
he  went  on,  "  to  make  their  mission  of  importance,  and  they 
wish  the  world  to  believe  that  all  the  ameliorations  in  our 
institutions  are  entirely  owing  to  their  own  exertions  or 
those  of  a  few  nurses  ;  and  I  am  sorry  to  say  some  of  our 
own  department  have  pandered  to  this,  and  have  been 
rewarded  for  it."  Miss  Nightingale's  remark  upon  this 
tirade  was  characteristic  :  "  One  is  tempted  to  ask,  have 
no  others  been  rewarded  who  have  nothing  to  show  for  the 
result  of  this  same  boasted  hospital  system,  but  the  wreck 
of  an  Army,  which  they  did  not  advise  even  the  most  ordi- 
nary precautions  (as  to  diet  and  clothing)  to  prevent,  and 
the  graves  at  Scutari."  2  To  me,  after  much  reading  of 
the  documents,  it  seems  that  Dr.  Hall  was  the  victim  of  a 
false  position.  He  had  been  appointed  Medical  Inspector- 
General  in  the  Crimea  when  he  was  still  in  India,  and  he  did 
not  arrive  on  the  scene  in  time  to  think  out  the  preparations 
properly.  Miss  Nightingale  never  allowed  personal  feeling 
to  affect  the  impartiality  of  her  judgments.  Dr.  Hall 
disputed  her  authority  and  resented  her  interference.  She 
fought  him,  and  in  the  end  she  beat  him  ;  but  there  are 
passages  in  her  letters  which  bear  testimony  to  his  good 
services  and  high  capacity  in  many  respects.  Nor  were 
their  personal  relations  unfriendly  ;  but  she  saw  in  him 
throughout  an  antagonist  influence.  The  Deputy  Pur- 
veyor-in-Chief,  Mr.  David  Fitz-Gerald,  regarded  her  coming 

1  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  p.  369. 

2  Notes,  vol.  i.  sec.  i.  pp.  xxiv.-v.     In  a  private  letter  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's irony  was  more  bitter.     "  K.C.B."  meant,  she  supposed,  "  Knight 
of  the  Crimean  Burial-grounds." 


to  the  Crimea  with  equal,  or  greater,  suspicion  and  dislike, 
and  he  sent  home  to  the  War  Office  a  Confidential  Report, 
criticizing  the  female  nursing  establishment,  and  making 
out  an  argumentative  case  against  the  desirability  of  sanc- 
tioning Miss  Nightingale's  claim  to  be  the  Lady  Superior 
of  the  Crimean  nurses.  Miss  Nightingale  had  been  shown 
these  reports  by  a  friend,  and  she  was  angry  at  what  she 
considered  a  campaign  of  secret  hostility  against  her. 

To  add  to  the  mischief,  the  professional  difficulty  (as  I 
may  call  it)  became  entangled  with  the  religious  difficulty. 
Some  of  the  nuns  who  had  previously  been  assigned  to  the 
hospitals  at  Koulali,  proceeded  in  October  1855,  at  Dr. 
Hall's  instance,  to  the  General  Hospital  at  Balaclava.  This 
was  naturally  regarded  by  Miss  Nightingale  as  an  act  of 
usurpation  upon  her  authority  ;  it  gave  an  undue  propor- 
tion of  Roman  Catholics  to  a  particular  hospital ;  and, 
moreover,  she  did  not  consider  these  particular  ladies, 
or  their  Reverend  Mother,  Mrs.  Bridgeman,  wholly 
efficient.  They  were  most  devoted  and  self-sacrificing,  and 
their  spiritual  ministrations  were  admirable,  but  as  nurses 
and  administrators  she  thought  less  highly  of  them.  Mr. 
Fitz-Gerald,  on  the  other  hand,  was  strongly  prepossessed, 
as  independent  observers  thought,  in  their  favour.  As  ill- 
luck  would  have  it,  these  ladies  were  for  the  most  part  Irish, 
and  the  matter  was  made  to  assume  the  aspect  of  a  racial- 
religious  feud.  People  who  could  not  understand  Miss 
Nightingale's  single-minded  devotion  to  efficient  and  busi- 
ness-like administration  supposed  that  she  was  actuated 
by  prejudice.  Dr.  Hall  was  not  moved  by  any  such  sus- 
picion ;  but  the  ladies,  whom  Miss  Nightingale  regarded  as 
not  among  the  more  efficient  of  her  staff  of  nurses,  were  his 
nominees,  and  he  strongly  backed  them.  There  was  a 
somewhat  similar  dispute  about  another  transference  of 
nurses  in  the  Crimea  made  without  Miss  Nightingale's 
sanction  ;  and  some  of  the  women,  taking  their  cue  from 
their  superiors,  were  inclined  to  question  and  flout  her 
authority.  "  I  don't  know  what  she  wants  here,"  said  one, 
when  the  Lady  Superintendent  appeared  on  the  scene.1 

1  The  Autobiography  of  a  Balaclava  Nurse,  vol.  ii.  p.  163. 

VOL.  I  U 



All  this  controversy  raised  Miss  Nightingale's  vexation 
to  white  heat.  On  January  7,  1856,  she  wrote  an  official 
letter  to  the  War  Office,  complaining  of  the  encroachment 
on  her  department  by  the  Medical  Officer.  In  semi-private 
letters  to  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  (Feb.  20,  21,  1856)  she  formu- 
lated her  grievances.  Dr.  Hall  was  "  attempting  to  root 
her  out  of  the  Crimea."  Other  officials  were  traducing  her 
behind  her  back.  The  War  Office  was  not  adequately 
supporting  her.  "It  is  profuse,"  she  said,  "  in  tinsel  and 
empty  praise  which  I  do  not  want,  and  does  not  give  me 
the  real  business-like  efficient  standing  which  I  do  want." 
She  begged  Mr.  Herbert  to  move  in  the  House  of  Commons 
for  the  production  of  correspondence,  so  that  the  public 
might  be  able  to  judge  between  her  and  those  who  were 
traducing  her,  and  striving  to  thwart  her  work.  Mr. 
Herbert,  in  a  reply 1  marked  alike  by  good  sense  and  good 
feeling,  ventured  "  to  criticize  and  to  scold  "  his  friend. 
"  You  have  been  overdone,"  he  said,  "  with  your  long, 
anxious,  harassing  work.  You  see  jealousies  and  meannesses 
all  round  you.  You  hear  of  one-sided,  unfair,  and  unjust 
reports  made  of  your  proceedings  and  of  those  under  you. 
But  you  over-rate  their  importance,  you  attribute  too  much 
motive  to  them,  and  you  write  upon  them  with  an  irritation 
and  vehemence  which  detracts  very  much  from  the  weight 
which  would  attach  to  what  you  say."  There  are  letters 
to  show  that  this  was  the  opinion  also  of  the  more  sagacious 
among  Miss  Nightingale's  nearest  friends.  To  move  for 
papers  would,  Mr.  Herbert  added,  be  very  injudicious.  There 
was  no  public  attack,  and  the  publication  of  papers  would 
call  needless  attention  to  disputes.  The  answers  to  her 
critics,  which  she  had  sent  home,  appeared  to  Mr.  Herbert 
to  be  complete,  and  he  understood  that  the  War  Office  so 
considered  them.  Moreover  the  Secretary  of  State  was 
about  to  issue  orders  which  would  clear  up  Miss  Nightingale's 
position  once  and  for  all.  And  her  own  letters,  though 
conclusive  as  to  the  facts,  had  in  their  tone  done  herself 
"  less  than  justice." 

1  Printed  in  extenso  in  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  pp.  416-420. 


All  this  was  excellent  advice,  and  Miss  Nightingale  took 
it  in  good  part,  but  not,  in  a  phrase  now  sanctioned  in  high 
politics,  "  lying  down."  She  replied  at  great  length  and 
with  full  vigour.  The  gist  of  her  letter  was  that  it  was 
easy  to  be  calm  and  "  statesmanlike  "  at  a  distance,  but 
difficult  not  to  be  angry  and  downright  when  you  were  on 
the  spot  finding  your  work  for  the  sick  and  wounded  ham- 
pered at  every  turn.  She  had  been  criticized,  among  other 
things,  for  interference  in  the  Purveyor's  sphere.  Her 
reply  to  Mr.  Herbert  on  this  point  is  decidedly  effective, 
and  incidentally  throws  light  on  the  hardness  of  her  life 
in  the  Crimea.  Happily,  she  said,  she  had  brought  with  her 
adequate  supplies  for  herself  and  her  staff.  If  she  had  not, 
they  would  have  been  in  danger  of  starvation  : — 

(Miss  Nightingale  to  Sidney  Herbert.)  CRIMEA,  April  4  [1856]. 
I  arrived  here  March  24  with  Nurses  for  the  two  Land  Transport 
Hospitals  required  by  Dr.  Hall  in  writing  on  March  lo.1  We 
have  now  been  ten  days  without  rations.  Lord  Cardigan  was 
surprised  to  find  his  horses  die  at  the  end  of  a  fortnight  because 
they  were  without  rations,  and  said  that  they  "  chose  "  to  do 
it,  obstinate  brutes  !  The  Inspector -General  and  Purveyors 
wish  to  see  whether  women  can  live  as  long  as  horses  without 
rations.  I  thank  God  my  charge  has  felt  neither  cold  nor  hunger 
(and  is  in  efficient  working  order,  having  cooked  and  administered 
in  both  Hospitals  the  whole  of  the  extras  for  260  bad  cases 
ever  since  the  first  day  of  their  arrival).  I  have,  however,  felt 
both.  I  do  not  wish  to  make  a  martyr  of  myself  ;  within  sight 
of  the  graves  of  the  Crimean  Army  of  last  winter  (too  soon  for- 
gotten in  England),  it  would  be  difficult  to  do  so.  I  am  glad  to 
have  had  the  experience.  For  cold  and  hunger  wonderfully 
sharpen  the  wits.  .  .  .  During  these  ten  days  I  have  fed  and 
warmed  these  women  at  my  own  private  expense  by  my  own 
private  exertions.  I  have  never  been  off  my  horse  till  9  or  10  at 
night,  except  when  it  was  too  dark  to  walk  home  over  these  crags 
even  with  a  lantern,  when  I  have  gone  on  foot.  During  the  greater 
part  of  the  day  I  have  been  without  food  necessarily,  except  a 
little  brandy  and  water  (you  see  I  am  taking  to  drinking  like  my 
comrades  of  the  Army).  But  the  object  of  my  coming  has  been 
attained,  and  my  women  have  neither  starved  nor  suffered. 

The  memory  of  the  petty  persecution  to  which  she  was 
subjected  by  hostile  and  jealous  officials  in  the  Crimea 

1  The  letter  is  printed  in  Hall,  p.  451. 

292         SUPPORT  FROM  THE  WAR  OFFICE        PT.H 

never  faded  from  Miss  Nightingale's  mind.  A  reference  to 
it  will  be  found  in  a  much  later  chapter,1  and  she  often 
mentioned  it  in  her  notes  and  letters.  But,  though  she 
fought  the  officials  hard,  she  never  showed  temper  in  public, 
and  she  did  not  allow  either  the  obstruction  itself  or  her 
vexation  at  it  to  impede  her  work.  She  had  come  to  the 
Crimea  prepared,  and  her  private  stores  sufficed  to  feed  her 
staff  till  official  obstruction  was  removed  ;  whilst  as  for  her 
vexation,  she  was  careful  not  to  show  it  lest  her  work  should 

Meanwhile  a  dispatch  was  already  on  its  way  from  the 
War  Department,  which  gave  to  Miss  Nightingale  the  full 
support  for  which  she  had  asked.  The  dispatch  was  not 
settled,  however,  without  a  stiff  fight  against  it  by  sub- 
ordinates at  the  War  Office,  who  sided  with  Sir  John  Hall 
and  Mr.  Fitz-Gerald.  The  curious  in  such  matters  may 
consult  the  minutes  and  counter-minutes  upon  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's letter  of  protest  preserved  in  the  archives  of  the  War 
Office.  Lord  Panmure,  however,  took  her  view.  Even 
when  the  lines  of  the  dispatch  were  settled  in  accordance 
with  his  instructions,  protests  were  still  made  against  a 
policy  which,  in  supporting  Miss  Nightingale,  would  censure 
Dr.  Hall,  but  the  Minister  was  not  moved.  He  had  already, 
on  November  5,  1855,  written  to  Miss  Nightingale  herself, 
stating  that  Mrs.  Bridgeman  was  not  justified  in  acting  as 
she  had  done.2  He  now,  on  February  25,  1856,  wrote  to 
the  Commander  of  the  Forces  directing  that  Dr.  Hall's 
attention  should  be  called  to  the  irregularity  of  his  proceed- 
ing in  introducing  nurses  into  a  Hospital  without  previous 
communication  with  Miss  Nightingale,  and  that  the  following 
statement  should  be  issued  : — 

The  Secretary  of  State  for  War  has  addressed  the  following 
dispatch  to  the  Commander  of  the  Forces,  with  a  desire  that  it 
should  be  promulgated  in  General  Orders  :  "It  appears  to  me 
that  the  Medical  Authorities  of  the  Army  do  not  correctly  com- 
prehend Miss  Nightingale's  position  as  it  has  been  officially 
recognized  by  me.  I  therefore  think  it  right  to  state  to  you 
briefly  for  their  guidance,  as  well  as  for  the  information  of  the 
Army,  what  the  position  of  that  excellent  lady  is.  Miss  Night- 

1  Vol.  II.  p.  195.  2  See  Hall,  p.  438. 


ingale  is  recognized  by  Her  Majesty's  Government  as  the  General 
Superintendent  of  the  Female  Nursing  Establishment  of  the 
military  hospitals  of  the  Army.  No  lady,  or  sister,  or  nurse 
is  to  be  transferred  from  one  hospital  to  another,  or  introduced 
into  any  hospital,  without  consultation  with  her.  Her  instruc- 
tions, however,  require  to  have  the  approval  of  the  Principal 
Medical  Officer  in  the  exercise  of  the  responsibility  thus  vested 
in  her.  The  Principal  Medical  Officer  will  communicate  with 
Miss  Nightingale  upon  all  subjects  connected  with  the  Female 
Nursing  Establishment,  and  will  give  his  directions  through  that 
lady."  i 

Miss  Nightingale's  strong  feeling  in  this  matter  was  not 
caused,  as  a  hasty,  prejudiced,  or  uncharitable  judgment 
might  suggest,  by  wounded  amour  propre.  It  was  based 
on  the  conviction  which  experience  had  given  her,  that  only 
by  the  strictest  discipline  exercised  through  properly  con- 
stituted authority,  could  the  experiment  of  female  nursing 
in  military  hospitals  be  made  successful.  In  the  Confidential 
Reports  which  were  sent  to  the  War  Office  criticizing  the 
experiment,  advantage  was  taken  of  mistakes  and  misdeeds 
which  Miss  Nightingale  felt  that  she  might  have  prevented 
had  she  been  armed  earlier  with  explicit  and  plenary 

Armed  with  this  full  authority,  Miss  Nightingale  pro- 
ceeded to  make  such  transferences  among  the  nurses  as  she 
deemed  necessary  in  the  cause  of  efficiency.  She  had  no 
desire  to  remove  Mrs.  Bridgeman  and  the  nuns  ;  she  was 
anxious  only  to  make  some  reforms  in  their  administration, 
as  she  would  now  have  express  authority  to  do  ;  and  she 
begged  Mrs.  Bridgeman  to  remain.  Sir  John  Hall  and  the 
Deputy  Purvey or-in-Chief,  smarting  under  the  War  Office's 
edict,  seem  to  have  laid  their  heads  together,  and  advised 
Mrs.  Bridgeman  to  resign.3  "  It  must  rest  with  you  to 
decide,"  wrote  Sir  John,  "  whether  you  wish  to  remain 
subservient  to  the  control  of  Miss  Nightingale  or  not."  She 
and  her  Sisterhood,  resigning  forthwith  (March  28),  returned 
to  England,  and  Miss  Nightingale  filled  their  places  by 

1  Hall,  p.  450.     The  text  of  the  General  Order  as  issued  on  March  16 
was  printed  in  the  Times  of  April  i,  1856. 

2  See  on  this  subject  her  Report  to  the  Secretary  of  State,  Subsidiary 
Notes,  pp.  i,  2. 

3  See  the  letters  printed  in  Hall,  p.  457. 


others  of  the  staff.  In  her  retrospect  of  the  whole  cam- 
paign, she  regarded  the  spring  of  1856  in  the  Crimea  as  one 
of  the  three  periods  when  her  nurses  gave  the  greatest  proof 
of  their  utility.1  There  was  then  great  sickness  among  the 
Land  Transport  Corps.  The  other  two  periods  were  on 
the  arrival  of  the  wounded  from  Inkerman  at  Scutari 
(p.  181),  and  "  during  the  heavy  summer  work  of  nursing 
the  wounded  at  Balaclava  in  1855."  There  is,  I  think,  no 
memorial  of  Miss  Nightingale  in  the  Crimea.  But  on  the 
heights  above  Balaclava,  visible  from  a  great  distance  at 
sea,  is  a  tall  marble  cross,  erected  to  the  memory  of  the 
heroic  dead,  "  and  to  those  Sisters  of  Charity  who  had  fallen 
in  their  service."  The  words  engraved  upon  it  are,  "  Lord, 
have  mercy  upon  us."  2 

Miss  Nightingale  was  much  exhausted  by  her  labours 
in  the  Crimea,  and,  a  few  weeks  before  she  left  it  for  the  last 
time,  she  wrote  some  testamentary  dispositions  which,  in 
the  event  of  her  death,  were  to  be  handed  to  General  Storks, 
in  command  at  Scutari  :  "As  you,"  she  wrote  to  him  (Bala- 
clava, May  3,  1856),  "  are  of  all  those  in  office,  whether  at 
home  or  abroad,  the  officer  who  has  given  the  most  steady 
and  consistent  support  to  the  work  entrusted  to  me  by  Her 
Majesty's  Government,  I  venture  to  appeal  to  you  to  continue 
that  support  after  my  death,  and  to  carry  out  as  far  as 
possible  my  last  requests."  She  expressed  an  "  earnest 
desire  "  that  Mrs.  Shaw  Stewart  should  be  appointed  to 
succeed  her.  She  left  messages  of  commendation  and 
pecuniary  gifts  to  the  Reverend  Mother  of  the  Bermondsey 
Nuns,  Sister  Bertha  Turnbull,  and  Mrs.  Roberts  :  "  To  the 
Queen  I  beg  humbly  to  restore  the  '  Order '  with  which 
Her  Majesty  was  pleased  to  decorate  me.  If  she  sees  fit 
to  return  it  to  my  family,  it  will  be  prized  the  more  by  them. 
I  cannot  express  the  support  which  the  approbation  of  my 
Sovereign  has  been  to  me  in  all  my  trials.  But  I  would 
assure  Her  that  neither  by  word  or  thought  or  deed  have  I 
ever  for  one  moment  been  unworthy  of  Her  service  or  of  the 

1  Notes,  p.  158. 

2  It  has  often  been  stated  that  the  cross  was  erected  by  Miss  Nightin- 
gale, but  this  is  not  the  case.     The  inscription  was  suggested  by  Mrs. 
Shaw  Stewart.     In  1863  a  Maternity  Charity  was  established  at  Con- 
stantinople "  in  honour  of  Florence  Nightingale." 


charge  entrusted  to  me  by  Her.  I  would  wish  the  Com- 
mander of  the  Forces  in  the  East,  in  restoring  to  Her  this 
jewel,  to  assure  Her  of  this."  There  were  other  requests, 
but  her  last  thought  was  of  the  Army  :  "I  would  wish  that 
I  could  have  done  something  more  to  prove  to  the  noble 
Army,  whom  I  have  so  cared  for,  my  respect  and  esteem.  If 
the  Commander  of  the  Forces  would  put  into  General  Orders 
a  message  of  farewell  from  me,  of  remembrance  of  the  time 
when  we  lived  and  suffered  and  worked  together,  I  should  be 
grateful  to  him."  She  was  to  be  spared  to  render  services 
to  the  British  Army  greater  than  any  she  had  been  able  to 
render  in  the  Crimea. 


At  Scutari,  during  the  last  months  of  Miss  Nightingale's 
sojourn  (Nov.  i855~March  1856,  and  July  1856),  her  work 
was  as  continuous  as  in  the  Crimea.  Her  companions,  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  had  returned  to  England  in  August 
J855,  and  their  place  was  taken  by  Mrs.  Samuel  Smith. 
From  her  letters  we  get  a  glimpse  of  Florence's  daily  toil 
at  Scutari.  "Mine,"  wrote  the  aunt  (Dec.  31,  1855),  "is 
mere  copying  ;  hers  is  perplexing  brain- work.  I  go  to  bed 
at  ii  ;  she  habitually  writes  till  i  or  2,  sometimes  till  3  or 
4  ;  has  in  the  last  pressure  given  up  3  whole  nights  to  it. 
We  seldom  get  through  even  our  little  dinner  (after  it  has 
been  put  off  one,  two,  or  three  hours  on  account  of  her 
visitors),  without  her  being  called  away  from  it.  I  never 
saw  a  greater  picture  of  exhaustion  than  Flo  last  night  at 
ten  (Jan.  7).  '  Oh,  do  go  to  bed/  I  said.  '  How  can  I ;  I 
have  all  those  letters  to  write/  pointing  to  the  divan  covered 
with  papers.  '  Write  them  to-morrow/  '  To-morrow  will 
bring  its  own  work.'  And  she  sat  up  the  greater  part  of 
the  night."  But  with  all  this  pressure,  there  was  no  flurry. 
"  Such  questions  as  food,  rest,  temperature,"  wrote  her 
aunt  in  another  letter  (Jan.  25,  1856),  "  never  interfere  with 
her  during  her  work  ;  I  suppose  she  has  gained  some  ad- 
vantage over  other  people  in  her  entire  absence  of  thought 
about  these  things  ;  that  is,  her  mind  overtasked  with  great 
things  has  not  these  little  questions  to  entertain.  She  is 

296        CHRISTMAS  DAY  AT  THE  EMBASSY        PT.H 

extremely  quick  and  clear  too,  as  you  know,  in  her  work. 
This  I  suppose  has  increased  upon  her,  and  she  can  turn  from 
one  thing  or  one  person  to  another,  when  in  the  midst  of 
business,  in  a  most  extraordinary  manner.  She  has  attained 
a  most  wonderful  calm  and  presence  of  mind.  She  is,  I 
think,  often  deeply  impressed,  and  depressed,  though  she 
does  not  show  it  outwardly,  but  no  irritation  of  temper,  no 
hurry  or  confusion  of  manner,  ever  appears  for  a  moment." 
Mrs.  Smith's  work  was  not  only  copying.  Mrs.  Brace- 
bridge  had  called  herself  "  Boots,"  because  she  did  all 
Florence's  odd  jobs,  and  to  this  part  Mrs.  Smith  had  suc- 
ceeded. "  Aunt  Mai,"  who  had  helped  so  greatly  in  Florence's 
struggle  for  independence,  must  have  felt  rewarded  for  her 
self-sacrifice  in  leaving  husband,  home,  and  children,  by 
being  able  to  stand  at  her  niece's  side  through  some  part 
of  the  life  of  action. 

For  Christmas  Day  (1855)  Miss  Nightingale  accepted 
an  invitation  to  the  British  Embassy,  and  another  guest 
has  drawn  a  picture  of  her  on  this  occasion  : — 

By  the  side  of  the  Ambassadress  was  a  tall,  fashionable, 
haughty  beauty.  But  the  next  instant  my  eye  wandered  to  a 
lady  modestly  standing  on  the  other  side  of  Lady  Stratford. 
At  first  I  thought  she  was  a  nun,  from  her  black  dress  and  close 
cap.  She  was  not  introduced,  and  yet  Edmund  and  I  looked 
at  each  other  at  the  same  moment  to  whisper  Miss  Nightingale. 
Yes,  it  was  Florence  Nightingale,  greatest  of  all  now  in  name  and 
honour  among  women.  I  assure  you  that  I  was  glad  not  to  be 
obliged  to  speak  just  then,  for  I  felt  quite  dumb  as  I  looked  at  her 
wasted  figure  and  the  short  brown  hair  combed  over  her  forehead 
like  a  child's,  cut  so  when  her  life  was  despaired  of  from  a  fever 
but  a  short  time  ago.  Her  dress,  as  I  have  said,  was  black,  made 
high  to  the  throat,  its  only  ornament  being  a  large  enamelled 
brooch,  which  looked  to  me  like  the  colours  of  a  regiment  sur- 
mounted with  a  wreath  of  laurel,  no  doubt  some  graceful  offering 
from  our  men.  To  hide  the  close  white  cap  a  little,  she  had  tied 
a  white  crape  handkerchief  over  the  back  of  it,  only  allowing 
the  border  of  lace  to  be  seen  ;  and  this  gave  the  nun-like  appear- 
ance which  first  struck  me  on  her  entering  the  room  ;  otherwise 
Miss  Nightingale  is  by  no  means  striking  in  appearance.  Only 
her  plain  black  dress,  quiet  manner  and  great  renown  told  so 
powerfully  altogether  in  that  assembly  of  brilliant  dress  and 
uniforms.  She  is  very  slight,  rather  above  the  middle  height ; 
her  face  is  long  and  thin,  but  this  may  be  from  recent  illness  and 


great  fatigue.  She  has  a  very  prominent  nose,  slightly  Roman  ; 
and  small  dark  eyes,  kind,  yet  penetrating ;  but  her  face  does  not 
give  you  at  all  the  idea  of  great  talent.  She  looks  a  quiet,  per- 
severing, orderly,  lady-like  woman.  .  .  .  She  was  still  very  weak, 
and  could  not  join  in  the  games,  but  she  sat  on  a  sofa,  and  looked 
on,  laughing  until  the  tears  came  into  her  eyes.1 

It  was  during  this  latter  portion  of  Miss  Nightingale's 
sojourn  at  Scutari  that  she  made  a  new  friendship,  which  was 
of  some  importance  to  her  work.  In  October  1855  Colonel 
Lefroy,2  confidential  adviser  on  scientific  matters  to  the 
Secretary  for  War,  was  sent  out  by  Lord  Panmure  to  report 
privately  on  the  state  of  the  hospitals.  He  formed  a  high 
opinion  of  Miss  Nightingale's  work  and  abilities,  and  a 
friendship  with  her  then  began  which  continued  to  the  end 
of  his  life.  Lord  Panmure' s  confidence  in  her,  and  the  full 
authority  with  which,  as  already  related  (p.  292),  he  invested 
her,  were  partly  due  to  Colonel  Lefroy's  reports.3  At  the 
time  when  the  matter  was  under  discussion,  he  had  returned 
to  his  post  at  the  War  Office,  and  the  papers  were  sent  to 
him.  His  view  of  the  case  was  the  same  as  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's, and  he  expressed  it  with  a  force  inspired  by  his 
personal  observation,  alike  of  her  services  and  of  her  diffi- 
culties. The  medical  men,  he  wrote  in  one  minute,  are 
jealous  of  her  mission.  "  Dr.  Hall  would  gladly  upset  it 
to-morrow."  "  A  General  Order,"  he  wrote  in  another 
minute,  "  recognizing  and  defining  her  position  would  save 
her  much  annoyance  and  harassing  correspondence.  It  is 
due,  I  think,  to  all  she  has  done  and  has  sacrificed.  Among 
other  reasons  for  it,  it  will  put  a  stop  to  any  spirit  of  growing 
independence  among  these  ladies  and  nurses  who  are  still 
under  her,  a  spirit  encouraged  with  no  friendly  intention  in 
more  than  one  quarter."  For  many  years  Colonel  Lefroy 
was  one  of  Miss  Nightingale's  most  constant  correspondents 
on  subjects  connected  with  military  hospitals  and  nurses, 
and  they  often  co-operated  in  schemes  for  the  welfare  of 

1  Letter  from  Lady  Hornby  to  her  sister  Mrs.  Vaillant,  Jan.  5,  1856  ; 
Hornby,  pp.  150,  152.     The  enamelled  brooch  was  the  Queen's  jewel. 

2  John  Henry  Lefroy   (1817-90),  Lieut.   R.A.,   1837  ;    engaged  in  a 
magnetical  survey,  1839-42  ;    F.R.S.,  1848  ;    at  the  War  Office,  1854-57  ; 
inspector-general  of  army  schools,  1857  ;   afterwards  governor  successively 
of  the  Bermudas  and  Tasmania  ;   K.C.M.G.,  1877. 

3  See  a  letter  of  Sidney  Herbert  printed  in  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  p.  417. 


the  soldiers.  Colonel  Lefroy's  services  to  the  army,  both 
in  scientific  matters  and  in  philanthropic  directions,  were 
long  and  distinguished.  Miss  Nightingale  had  detractors 
and  opponents  in  the  service  ;  but  the  more  progressive 
an  officer  was,  the  more  probably  may  he  be  included  among 
her  admirers  and  supporters. 


(July- August  1856) 

I  love  the  people, 

But  do  not  like  to  stage  me  to  their  eyes. 
Though  it  do  well,  I  do  not  relish  well 
Their  loud  applause  and  aves  vehement. 


PEACE  was  signed  at  Paris  on  March  30,  1856  ;  but  there 
was  still  work  to  be  done  in  the  Crimean  hospitals,  and  Miss 
Nightingale  remained  at  Balaclava,  as  we  have  seen,  till 
the  beginning  of  July.  On  her  return  to  Scutari  she  was 
occupied  in  winding  up  the  affairs  of  her  mission.  Mean- 
while the  nurses  were  already  beginning  to  go  home.  The 
Reverend  Mother  (Moore),  who  had  come  out  from  Ber- 
mondsey  with  the  first  party,  left  the  East  at  the  end  of 
April.  She  had  been  throughout  one  of  the  mainstays  of 
Miss  Nightingale,  who  wrote  to  her  thus  from  Balaclava 
(April  29)  :  "  God's  blessing  and  my  love  and  gratitude 
with  you,  as  you  well  know.  You  know  well  too  that  I  shall 
do  everything  I  can  for  the  Sisters  whom  you  have  left  me. 
But  it  will  not  be  like  you.  Your  wishes  will  be  our  law. 
And  I  shall  try  and  remain  in  the  Crimea  for  their  sakes  as 
long  as  we  are  any  of  us  there.  I  do  not  presume  to  express 
praise  or  gratitude  to  you,  Revd.  Mother,  because  it  would 
look  as  if  I  thought  you  had  done  the  work  not  unto  God 
but  unto  me.  You  were  far  above  me  in  fitness  for  the 
General  Superintendency,  both  in  worldly  talent  of  adminis- 
tration, and  far  more  in  the  spiritual  qualifications  which 
God  values  in  a  Superior.  My  being  placed  over  you  in  an 
unenviable  reign  in  the  East  was  my  misfortune  and  not  my 


300        MISS  NIGHTINGALE'S  "  MAINSTAYS  "       PT.  n 

fault."  Another  of  those  whom  Miss  Nightingale  described 
as  her  mainstays  was  Mrs.  Shaw  Stewart,  who  served  in  the 
Crimea  as  Superintendent  of  the  nurses,  successively  in  the 
"  General  "  and  in  the '"  Castle  "  Hospital,  and  of  her  Miss 
Nightingale  wrote  in  terms  of  similarly  grateful  fervour. 
I  quote  a  few  of  these  appreciations  (and  many  more  might 
be  added),  because  it  has  been  supposed,  on  the  strength 
of  isolated  expressions  penned  in  moments  of  vexation  or 
despondency,  that  Miss  Nightingale  was  ungenerous  in 
recognition  of  the  work  of  others.1  Nothing  could  be 
further  from  the  fact.  She  was,  it  is  true,  unsparing  in 
blame  wherever  she  saw,  or  thought  she  saw,  incompetence, 
or  unfaithfulness,  or  a  lack  of  single -mindedness ;  she 
was  also  impatient  of  opposition ;  and  hers  was  not 
one  of  those  soft  natures  which  readily  forget  and  forgive. 
But  wherever  efficiency  and  faithful  zeal  were  to  be 
found,  she  was  quick  to  recognize  them,  and  she  was  as 
unstinted  in  praise  as  in  blame.  Of  Mrs.  Shaw  Stewart, 
she  wrote  to  Lady  Cranworth  (who  had  succeeded  Lady 
Canning  in  good  offices  towards  the  nurses)  :  "  Without  her 
our  Crimean  work  would  have  come  to  grief — without  her 
judgment,  her  devotion,  her  unselfish,  consistent  looking 
to  the  one  great  end,  viz.  the  carrying  out  the  work  as  a 
whole — without  her  untiring  zeal,  her  watchful  care  of  the 
nurses,  her  accuracy  in  all  trusts  and  accounts,  her  truth, 
her  faithfulness.  Her  praise  and  her  reward  are  in  higher 
hands  than  mine."  Of  the  same  "  noble,  brave "  lady, 
Miss  Nightingale  had  written  to  Mrs.  Bracebridge  (Nov.  4, 
1855)  :  "  Faithfulness  is  so  eminently  her,  that  I  hear  her 
Master  saying,  Thou  hast  been  faithful  over  a  few  things,  I 
will  make  thee  ruler  over  many  things."  I  could  multiply 
Miss  Nightingale's  praises  of  her  fellow- workers,  for  of  every 
one  of  them  she  sent  home  to  Lady  Cranworth  a  terse 
character-sketch.  This  was  done  mainly  for  the  sake  of 
the  professional  nurses,  in  order  that  they  might  be  helped 
to  find  suitable  situations  on  their  return.  The  sketches 
show  how  close  a  touch  the  Lady-in-Chief  kept  upon  her 
staff,  and  they  reveal  no  reluctance  either  to  criticize  or  to 
praise.  It  would  be  invidious  to  particularize  further  than 

1  Stanmore,  vol.  i.  pp.  404-5. 


to  cite  Miss  Nightingale's  appreciation  of  her  third  mainstay, 
Mrs.  Roberts,  who  came  out  as  a  paid  nurse  with  her  in 
October  1854,  and  served  throughout  the  war  :  "  Having 
been  23  years  Sister  in  St.  Thomas's  Hospital,  her  qualifica- 
tions as  a  nurse  were,  of  course,  infinitely  superior  to  any 
other  of  those  with  me.  She  is  indeed  a  surgical  nurse  of 
the  first  order.  Her  valuable  services  have  been  recognized 
even  and  most  of  all  by  the  surgeons  (of  Scutari,  where  she 
has  principally  been  and  where,  after  Inkerman,  her  exer- 
tions were  unremitting) .  Her  total  superiority  to  all  the  vices 
of  a  Hospital  Nurse,  her  faithfulness  to  the  work,  her  dis- 
interested love  of  duty  and  vigilant  care  of  her  patients,  her 
power  of  work  equal  to  that  of  ten,  have  made  her  one  of  the 
most  important  persons  of  the  expedition." 


On  June  3  the  Secretary  of  State  wrote  to  Miss  Nightin- 
gale, "  as  the  period  is  now  fast  approaching  when  your 
generous  and  disinterested  labours  will  cease,  with  the 
occasion  which  called  them  forth,"  to  inquire  what  arrange- 
ments should  be  made  for  her  return.  "  In  thus  contem- 
plating," he  continued,  "  the  close  of  those  anxious  and 
trying  duties,  which  you  imposed  upon  yourself  solely 
with  a  view  to  alleviate  the  sufferings  of  Her  Majesty's 
Army  in  the  East,  and  which  you  have  accomplished  with 
a  singleness  of  purpose  beyond  all  praise,  it  is  not  necessary 
for  me  to  inform  you  how  highly  Her  Majesty  appreciates 
the  services  you  have  rendered  to  Her  Army ;  as  Her 
Majesty  has  already  conveyed  to  you  a  signal  proof  of  Her 
gracious  approbation.  But  I  desire  now,  on  behalf  of  my 
colleagues  and  myself,  to  offer  you  our  most  cordial  thanks 
for  your  humane  and  generous  exertions.  In  doing  so, 
I  feel  confident  that  I  simply  express  the  unanimous  feelings 
of  the  people  of  this  country." 

There  were  things  which  Miss  Nightingale  valued 
more  highly  than  the  approbation  of  the  people.  One 
of  them  was  correctly  surmised  by  Sir  Henry  Storks. 
Writing  to  her  from  Headquarters  at  Scutari,  on  July  25, 
he  said  : — 

302  SIR  HENRY  STORKS'  FAREWELL          PT.  n 

I  have  received  your  kind  note  with  mingled  feelings  of 
extreme  pleasure  and  regret — the  former,  because  I  appreciate 
your  good  opinion  very  highly ;  the  latter,  because  your  note 
is  a  Farewell.  It  will  ever  be  to  me  a  source  of  pride  and  gratifica- 
tion to  have  been  associated  with  you  in  the  work  which  you 
have  performed  with  so  much  devotion  and  with  so  much  courage. 
Amidst  the  acknowledgments  you  have  received  from  all  classes, 
and  from  many  quarters,  I  feel  persuaded  there  are  none  more 
pleasing  to  yourself  than  the  grateful  recognition  of  the  poor 
men  you  came  to  succour  and  to  save.  You  will  ever  live  in 
their  remembrance,  be  assured  of  that ;  for  amongst  the  faults 
and  vices,  which  ignorance  has  produced,  and  a  bad  system  has 
fostered'  and  matured,  ingratitude  is  not  one  of  the  defects  of  the 
British  soldier.  I  indulge  the  hope  that  you  will  permit  me 
hereafter  to  continue  an  acquaintance  (may  I  say  friendship  ?) 
which  I  highly  value  and  appreciate. 

The  gratitude  of  the  British  soldier  was  very  dear  to  Miss 
Nightingale,  and  the  disposition  which  she  ultimately  made 
of  her  Crimean  decorations  was  characteristic.  Before  she 
left  the  East,  the  Sultan  had  presented  her  with  a  diamond 
bracelet  and  a  sum  of  money  for  the  nurses  and  hospitals, 
both  of  which  presents  the  Queen  permitted  her  to  accept.1 
The  bracelet,  with  the  badge  given  by  the  Queen,  may  be 
seen  to-day  in  the  Museum  of  the  United  Service  Institution, 
placed  there  in  accordance  with  her  desire  that  they  should 
be  deposited  "  where  the  soldiers  could  see  them." 

At  length  it  was  time  for  Miss  Nightingale,  having  seen 
off  the  last  of  her  nurses,  and  filed  the  last  of  her  inventories 
and  accounts,  to  leave  also.  The  Government  had  offered 
her  a  British  man-of-war  for  the  voyage  home.  The  view 
she  was  likely  to  take  of  such  a  proposal  had  been  correctly 
surmised  in  the  House  of  Lords  some  weeks  before.  On 
May  5  Lord  Ellesmere  moved  the  Address  on  the  conclusion 
of  peace.  He  was  something  of  a  poet,  as  well  as  a  states- 
man, and  this  was  his  last  appearance  in  the  House.  In  a 
speech,  which  was  much  admired  at  the  time,  and  which 
may  still  be  read  with  pleasure  as  a  specimen  of  the  more 
ornate  kind  of  parliamentary  eloquence,  he  paid  a  tribute 
to  the  memory  of  Lord  Raglan,  and  then  passed  by  a  happy 
transition  to  the  heroine  of  the  war  :  "  My  Lords,  the  agony 

1  Panmure,  vol.  i.  p.  278. 


of  that  time  has  become  matter  of  history.  The  vegetation 
of  two  successive  springs  has  obscured  the  vestiges  of  Bala- 
clava and  Inkerman.  Strong  voices  now  answer  to  the 
roll-call,  and  sturdy  forms  now  cluster  round  the  colours. 
The  ranks  are  full,  the  hospitals  are  empty.  The  angel  of 
mercy  still  lingers  to  the  last  on  the  scene  of  her  labours  ;  but 
her  mission  is  all  but  accomplished.  Those  long  arcades  of 
Scutari  in  which  dying  men  sat  up  to  catch  the  sound  of  her 
footstep  or  the  flutter  of  her  dress,  and  fell  back  content  to 
have  seen  her  shadow  as  it  passed,  are  now  comparatively 
deserted.  She  may  probably  be  thinking  how  to  escape, 
as  best  she  may  on  her  return,  the  demonstrations  of  a 
nation's  appreciation  of  the  deeds  and  motives  of  Florence 


The  offer  of  the  man-of-war  was  declined  ;  and  Miss 
Nightingale,  with  her  aunt,  sailed  in  the  Danube  for  Athens, 
Messina,  and  Marseilles.  A  Queen's  messenger  was  in 
attendance  to  help  the  travellers  with  passports.  They 
stayed  a  night  in  a  humble  hotel  in  Paris  (August  4),  and 
travelling  thence,  as  Miss  Smith,  she  reached  London  next 
day.  The  "  return  of  Florence  Nightingale  is  on  every 
one's  lips,"  said  a  letter  of  the  time,  and  all  the  newspaper- 
world  was  alert  to  discover  her  movements.  "  Weary  and 
worn  as  she  is,"  wrote  her  aunt,  "  I  cannot  tell  you  the  dread 
she  has  of  the  receptions  with  which  she  is  threatened." 
It  became  known  that  on  her  arrival  in  England  she  would 
proceed  at  once  to  her  country-home.  Triumphal  arches, 
addresses  from  mayors  and  corporations,  and  a  carriage 
drawn  by  her  neighbours  were  at  once  suggested  ;  but 
Miss  Nightingale  had  prudently  withheld  information  of 
her  time-table  even  from  her  family,  and  the  public  reception 
was  avoided.  It  had  been  proposed,  too,  that  the  reception 
should  be  military.  "  The  whole  regiments  "  of  the  Cold- 
streams,  the  Grenadiers,  and  the  Fusiliers  "  would  like  to 
come,  but  as  that  was  impossible,  they  desired  to  send  down 
their  three  Bands  to  meet  her  at  the  station  and  play  her 
home,  whenever  she  might  arrive,  whether  by  day  or  by 
night,  if  only  they  could  find  out  when."  But  the  attention 

304  SPOILS  OF  WAR  PT.  n 

even  of  her  soldiers  was  eluded.  She  lay  lost  for  a  night  in 
London,  and  at  eight  o'clock  next  morning  she  presented 
herself,  according  to  a  promise  given  to  the  Bermondsey 
Nuns,  at  their  Convent  door.  It  was  the  first  day  of  their 
annual  Retreat,  and  she  rested  with  them  for  a  few  hours. 
Then,  taking  the  train,  she  reached  her  home  on  August  7, 
1856,  after  nearly  two  years'  absence  in  the  East,  arriving 
at  an  unexpected  hour,  having  walked  up  from  the  little 
country  station.  "  A  little  tinkle  of  the  small  church  bell 
on  the  hills,  and  a  thanksgiving  prayer  at  the  little  chapel 
next  day,  were,"  wrote  her  sister,  "  all  the  innocent  greeting." 
Florence's  spoils  of  war,  as  Lady  Verney  wrote  to  Mrs. 
Gaskell,  arrived  in  advance,  and  were  characteristic.  There 
was,  first,  William,  a  one-legged  sailor  boy,  who  was  ten 
months  in  her  hospitals.  Occupation  was  found  for  him. 
Next  there  was  Peter,1  a  little  Russian  prisoner  who  came 
into  hospital,  and  of  whom,  as  he  was  an  orphan,  she  took 
charge.  "  One  of  the  Lady  Nurses  was  his  theological  in- 
structor, and  asked  him  where  he  would  go  when  he  died  if 
he  were  a  good  boy  ?  He  answered,  '  To  Miss  Nightingale/ 
Thirdly,  there  was  a  big  Crimean  puppy,  given  her  by  the 
soldiers.  He  was  found  in  a  hole  in  the  rocks  near  Balaclava, 
and  was  called  '  Rousch/  which  is  supposed  to  be  '  soldier  ' 
in  Russian.  A  little  Russian  cat,  a  similar  gift,  died  on  the 
road ;  but  the  three  remaining  are  the  happiest  things  I 
have  seen  for  some  time,  careering  about  in  the  intervals 
of  school,  where  they  are  made  much  of,  and  '  glory  '  is  more 
agreeable  to  them  than  to  their  mistress  !  "  But  Florence 
had  another  Crimean  spoil,  unknown,  perhaps,  to  her  sister, 
which  she  accounted  one  of  the  most  sacred  of  her  posses- 
sions. It  was  a  bunch  of  grass  which  she  had  "  picked  out 
of  the  ground  watered  by  our  men's  blood  at  Inkerman." 


"  If  ever  I  live  to  see  England  again,"  she  had  written 
in  November  1855,  "  the  western  breezes  of  my  hill-top 
home  will  be  my  first  longing,  though  Olympus  with  its 

1  Peter  Grillage  afterwards  became  man-servant   at  Embley.     See 
Vol.  II.  p.  302. 


snowy  cap  looks  fair  over  our  blue  Eastern  sea."  It  was 
to  Lea  Hurst,  then,  that  she  went  on  her  return.  It  was 
there,  ten  years  before,  that  she  had  found  a  fortnight's 
happiness  in  the  humble  work  of  parish  nursing  and  visiting, 
and  had  thought  to  herself  that  with  a  continuation  of  such 
life  she  would  be  content.1  The  aspirations  of  her  youth 
were  to  receive,  as  this  second  Part  of  the  volume  has  shown, 
a  larger,  a  fuller,  and  a  more  conspicuous  attainment.  Yet 
it  would  be  a  mistake  to  regard  Miss  Nightingale's  mission 
in  the  Crimean  War  either  as  the  summit  of  her  attainment 
or  the  fulfilment  of  her  life.  Rather  was  it  a  starting-point. 
Her  work  in  the  East  did,  it  is  true,  attain  some  great 
ends,  and  satisfy  in  some  measure  the  aspiration  of  her 
mind  and  heart.  "  She  has  done  a  great  deed,"  wrote  a 
friend  in  December  1854,  "  n°t  ^ess  than  that  of  those  who 
stood  at  Inkerman  or  advanced  at  the  Alma  ;  and  she  has 
made  the  first  move  towards  wiping  away  a  reproach  from 
this  country — that  our  women  could  not  do  what  others 
do,  irreproachably,  and  with  advantage  to  their  fellow- 
creatures."  She  had  proved  that  there  was  room  for  nurses 
in  British  military  hospitals.  She  had  shown  the  way  to  a 
new  and  high  calling  for  women.  "  What  Florence  has 
done,"  wrote  Lady  Verney  to  a  friend  (April  1856),  "  to- 
wards raising  the  standard  of  women's  capabilities  and  work 
is  most  important.  It  is  quite  curious  every  day  how  ques- 
tions arise  regarding  them  which  are  answered  quite  differ- 
ently, even  when  she  is  not  alluded  to,  from  what  they  would 
have  been  18  months  ago."  Lord  Stanley,  in  the  speech  at 
Manchester  already  mentioned,  had  made  the  same  point. 
"  Mark,"  he  said,  "  what,  by  breaking  through  customs  and 
prejudices,  Miss  Nightingale  has  effected  for  her  sex.  She 
has  opened  to  them  a  new  profession,  a  new  sphere  of  use- 
fulness. I  do  not  suppose  that,  in  undertaking  her  mission, 
she  thought  much  of  the  effect  which  it  might  have  on  the 
social  position  of  women.  Yet  probably  no  one  of  those  who 
made  that  question  a  special  study  has  done  half  as  much  as 
she  towards  its  settlement.  A  claim  for  more  extended  free- 
dom of  action,  based  on  proved  public  usefulness  in  the 
highest  sense  of  the  word,  with  the  whole  nation  to  look  on 

1  Above,  pp.  53,  64. 
VOL.  I  X 


and  bear  witness,  is  one  which  must  be  listened  to,  and 
cannot  be  easily  refused."  Lord  Stanley  was  mistaken  in 
supposing  that  Miss  Nightingale  thought  little  of  the  effect 
of  her  mission  upon  the  position  of  women ;  for,  though 
she  had  misgivings  about  "  woman's  missionaries,"  yet  to 
make  "  a  better  life  for  woman  "  l  was  an  object  very  near 
her  heart.  When  she  was  in  the  Crimea,  working  as  hard  as 
any  of  the  men,  confronting  disease  and  death  with  the  bravest 
of  them,  administering,  reforming,  counselling  as  energetic- 
ally as  the  best  of  them,  this  resolute  woman  felt  that  she  and 
her  companions  had  raised  their  sex  to  the  height  of  a  great 
occasion.  "  War,"  she  wrote  to  her  friend,  Mr.  Bracebridge 
(Nov.  4, 1855),  "  makes  Deborahs  and  Absaloms  and  Achito- 
phels  ;  and  when,  if  ever  the  Magnificat  has  been  true, 
has  it  been  more  true  than  now,  every  word  of  it  ?  My  soul 
doth  magnify  the  Lord,  and  my  spirit  hath  rejoiced  in  God 
my  Saviour.  For  He  hath  regarded  the  lowliness  of  His 
handmaiden."  The  words,  which  had  often  been  in  her 
mouth  in  moments  of  despondency  and  thwarted  yearning,2 
came  to  her  with  the  sense  of  happy  fulfilment  when  she  had 
been  able  to  act  as  the  handmaiden  of  God  in  the  service  of 
the  sick  and  wounded  soldiers.  Her  sister,  understanding 
her  better  in  the  years  of  attainment  than  in  those  of 
aspiration,  wrote  to  her  (Nov.  15,  1855) :  "  What  anxious 
work  you  have  upon  you,  my  Greatheart,  and  yet  in  spite  of 
it  all  have  you  not  found  your  true  home — the  home  of 
your  spirit  ?  " 

All  this  was  true.  Yet  Miss  Nightingale's  Crimean 
mission  was,  in  the  scheme  of  her  life  as  she  had  planned  it, 
and  in  the  facts  of  her  life  so  far  as  failing  health  permitted, 
not  so  much  a  climax,  as  an  episode.  It  was  an  episode 
remarkable  in  itself,  and  it  had  given  her  a  world-wide 
reputation  ;  but  in  reputation  she  saw  nothing  except  an 
opportunity  for  further  work.  "  The  abilities  which  she 
has  displayed,"  said  Mr.  Sidney  Herbert  in  Willis's  Rooms, 
"  cannot  be  allowed  to  slumber.  So  long  as  she  lives,  her 
labours  are  marked  out  for  her.  The  diamond  has  shown 
itself,  and  it  must  not  be  allowed  to  return  to  the  mine." 

1  See  below,  p.  385,  and  above,  p.  102. 
2  Above,  p.  94. 


Her  friend  well  knew  that  he  was  only  expressing  the  feelings 
of  her  own  mind.  What  she  sought  on  her  return  to  England 
was  to  utilize  her  reputation  and  her  experience  for  the 
furtherance  of  her  ideals.  Her  experiences  during  the 
Crimean  War  had  enlarged  the  scope  of  her  work.  She 
had  gained  an  insight  into  military  administration,  and  had 
shown  a  grasp  of  the  subject,  which  had  caused  the  Queen 
and  Prince  to  "  wish  we  had  her  at  the  War  Office."  Her 
first  duty,  then,  was  to  use  her  experience,  so  far  as  oppor- 
tunity offered,  to  improve  the  medical  administration  of  the 
Army.  But  the  main  desire  of  her  life  had  been  to  raise 
nursing  to  the  rank  of  a  trained  calling.  Her  mission  to 
the  East  had  not  accomplished  this  object.  It  had  only 
advertised  it,  and  for  the  rest  had  shown  how  urgently  the 
thing  needed  to  be  done.  The  world  praised  her  achieve- 
ment. She  was  rather  conscious  of  its  shortcoming,  and  of 
the  obstacles  and  difficulties  with  which  it  had  been  attended. 
She  came  back  from  the  East  more  resolved  than  ever  to 
be  a  pioneer  in  the  reform  of  nursing. 

But  first  she  needed  rest  and  seclusion.  Rest,  in  which 
to  recuperate  from  the  long  strain  of  labours,  hardships,  and 
anxieties.  Seclusion,  in  which  to  hide  herself  from  publicity 
and  applause.  The  world  praised  her  self-sacrifice.  She 
felt  that  she  had  made  none.  Rather  had  she  been  privileged 
to  attain  that  harmony  between  the  soul  of  a  human  being 
and  its  appointed  work,  in  which,  according  to  her  philo- 
sophy, lay  the  union  of  man  with  the  Divine  Spirit.  She 
shrank  from  glory  in  dread  of  vain-glory.  "  '  Paid  by  the 
world,  what  dost  thou  owe  Me  ?  '  God  might  question." 
"  I  believe,"  she  had  written  to  her  father  in  1854,  shortly 
before  her  Call  to  the  Crimea  came,  "  that  there  is,  within 
and  without  human  nature,  a  revelation  of  eternal  existence, 
eternal  progress  for  human  nature.  At  the  same  time  I 
believe  that  to  do  that  part  of  this  world's  work  which 
harmonizes,  accords  with  the  idiosyncrasy  of  each  of  us,  is 
the  means  by  which  we  may  at  once  render  this  world  the 
habitation  of  the  Divine  Spirit  in  Man,  and  prepare  for  other 
such  work  in  other  of  the  worlds  which  surround  us.  The 
Kingdom  of  Heaven  is  within  us.  Those  words  seem  to  me 
the  most  of  a  revelation,  of  a  New  Testament,  of  a  Gospel — 


of  any  that  are  recorded  to  have  been  spoken  by  our  Saviour." 
Her  period  of  rest  was  to  be  very  short,  as  we  shall  learn  ; 
but  let  us  leave  her  communing  silently  in  her  chamber 
with  such  thoughts,  till  another  Part  opens  a  new  chapter 
of  activity  in  her  life. 




We  can  do  no  more  for  those  who  have  suffered  and  died  in  their 
country's  service  ;  they  need  our  help  no  longer  ;  their  spirits  are 
with  God  who  gave  them.  It  remains  for  us  to  strive  that  their 
sufferings  may  not  have  been  endured  in  vain — to  endeavour  so  to 
learn  from  experience  as  to  lessen  such  sufferings  in  future  by  fore- 
thought and  wise  management. — FLORENCE  NIGHTINGALE  (Reply 
to  Address  from  the  Parishioners  of  East  Wellow,  Dec.  1856). 



(August-November  1856) 
To  shape  the  whisper  of  a  throne. — TENNYSON. 

WHENEVER  the  British  people  have  muddled  through  a  war, 
there  is  a  time  of  repentance  and  heart-searching.  England 
the  Unready  turns  round  uneasily  and  thinks  that  she  must 
now  mend  her  ways.  The  lessons  of  the  war  must  be  learnt. 
The  word  "  efficiency  "  is  blessed  in  every  mouth.  Radical 
reforms,  with  a  view  to  ensuring  a  better  state  of  prepared- 
ness next  time,  are  canvassed,  and  a  few  of  them  are  some- 
times carried  out.  And  then  to  the  hot  fit,  a  cold  fit  succeeds. 
War  and  its  lessons  fade  into  the  past.  Economy  displaces 
efficiency  as  the  favourite  word.  Peace  seems  to  be  more 
likely  than  another  war,  and,  if  war  should  unhappily  come, 
it  is  cheerily  hoped  that  England  will  again  "  muddle 
through  somehow."  The  spasm  of  reform  is  over,  leaving 
the  permanent  vis  inertiae  of  ministers  and  departments 
once  more  in  undisturbed  possession.  Reformers,  familiar 
with  this  succession  of  flow  and  ebb,  know  that  they  must 
seize  the  favourable  moment,  and  more  or  less  is  done, 
according  as  they  are  more  or  less  prompt  and  energetic. 
In  the  field  of  the  Army  Medical  Service,  where  the  Crimean 
War  had  exposed  deficiencies  both  glaring  and  terrible, 
large  and  far-reaching  reforms  were  set  in  motion  during 
the  years  immediately  following  the  Crimean  peace.  In- 
deed it  may  be  said  that  from  this  period  dates  the  first 
serious  and  sustained  movement  for  the  application  of 
sanitary  science  to  the  British  Army. 



That  effective  use  was  thus  made  of  the  spasm  of  repent- 
ance which  followed  the  Crimean  War  was  due  primarily 
and  mainly  to  the  zealous  co-operation  of  two  individuals, 
the  same  two  whose  alliance  formed  a  principal  subject 
of  the  preceding  Part  of  this  Memoir — Sidney  Herbert  and 
Florence  Nightingale.  When  her  friend  died  in  1861,  worn 
out  prematurely  by  unceasing  labours  for  the  British  Army, 
Miss  Nightingale  devoted  to  his  memory  an  account  of  his 
work  during  the  years  1856-1861.  In  that  pamphlet *• — a 
model  of  lucidity  and  concision — while  yet  informed  with 
comprehensive  insight,  and  not  untouched  by  emotion — she 
made  no  reference  of  any  kind  to  her  own  share  in  the  work. 
She  described  the  reforms,  and  said  that  in  all  that  was 
done  "  Sidney  Herbert  was  head  and  centre."  And  so  in 
many  respects  he  was.  He  was  the  Chairman  of  the  Royal 
Commission  and  the  Sub-Commissions.  He  was  afterwards 
Minister  for  War.  He  was  from  first  to  last  the  official  head 
of  the  reform  movement.  And  he  was  much  more  than  the 
official  head.  He  worked  with  unfailing  zeal,  and  threw 
his  heart  and  soul  into  the  work.  Yet  if  Sidney  Herbert 
had  written  the  account,  he  might  have  said  that  Florence 
Nightingale  was  the  head  and  centre  of  it  all.  If  she  could 
have  done  little  without  him,  so  also  might  he  have  done 
little  without  her.  He  was  in  the  foreground,  she  in  the 
background.  His  was  the  public  voice  ;  the  words  which 
he  spoke  or  wrote  were  often  the  words  of  Florence  Nightin- 
gale. He  was  the  practical  politician  who  carried  out  their 
common  schemes.  The  initiating,  the  inspiring,  the  im- 
pelling force  was  hers.  And  she  did  much  more  than  give 
general  impetus.  Her  mastery  of  detail  was  ever  at  Mr. 
Herbert's  elbow.  "  I  never  intend  to  tell  you,"  he  wrote  to 
her  when  the  first  of  the  Royal  Commissions  in  which  they 
co-operated  was  nearing  its  end  (August  7,  1857),  "  how 
much  I  owe  you  for  all  your  help  during  the  last  three 
months,  for  I  should  never  be  able  to  make  you  understand 
how  helpless  my  ignorance  would  have  been  among  the 
Medical  Philistines.  God  bless  you  !  "  But  between  two 
such  loyal  allies  and  understanding  friends,  it  were  needless 

1  An  expansion,  issued  in  1862,  of  a  memorandum,  privately  printed 
in  1861.     See  below,  p.  408. 

CH.I          THE  STORY  OF  A  COMRADESHIP  313 

to  apportion  the  relative  shares.  They  spoke  and  wrote  of 
their  working  together  as  "  our  Cabinet,"  "  our  Cabal," 
or  "  our  Mess."  It  is  the  story  of  this  comradeship,  rich 
in  human  interest,  and  fraught  with  lasting  benefit  to  the 
British  Army,  that  is  to  form  the  main  subject  of  this  and 
the  following  four  chapters. 


What  Miss  Nightingale  needed  on  her  return  from  the 
East,  and  what,  had  she  thought  only  of  herself,  she  would 
have  taken,  was  a  long  spell  of  rest.  She  had  been  through 
a  campaign  of  labour  and  anxiety,  under  conditions  of 
strain  and  distress,  such  as  might  have  undermined  the 
strongest  constitution.  Mr.  Herbert,  who  was  in  Ireland 
when  she  returned  to  England,  surmised  from  her  letters 
that  she  was  overwrought,  and  sent  her  the  prescription  of 
his  Carlsbad  doctor — ni  lire,  ni  ecrire,  ni  reflechir.  After 
such  severe  tension  of  mind  and  body,  a  reaction  was  in- 
evitable. He  sent  the  prescription,  but  he  did  not  expect 
her  entirely  to  adopt  it.  "I  should  doubt/'  he  wrote  to  her 
uncle,  "  with  a  mind  constituted  as  hers  is,  whether  entire 
rest,  with  a  total  cessation  from  all  active  business,  would 
not  be  a  greater  trial  and  less  effective  for  her  restoration  to 
health  than  a  life  of  some,  though  very  limited  and  moderate, 
occupation."  He  seems  to  have  hoped  that  she  might  be 
persuaded  to  take  up  comparatively  quiet  nursing  work  in 
a  London  hospital.  Presently  they  met  (Sept.)  in  the 
country-house  of  their  mutual  friends,  the  Bracebridges,  and 
Mr.  Bracebridge  thought  that  Mr.  Herbert  was  "  lukewarm  " 
on  the  subject  of  Army  Reform.  Perhaps  it  was  that  he 
wished  to  consider  Miss  Nightingale's  health  and  keep  her 
free  from  exciting  activity.  But  nothing  was  further  from 
her  thoughts  than  neutrality  or  passive  spectatorship.  She 
was  burning  for  the  fray,  and  flung  all  consideration  of 
health  aside  in  order  to  devote  herself  to  rousing  the  luke- 
warm and  organizing  the  resolute. 

To  understand  the  passionate  devotion,  the  self-sacrific- 
ing ardour,  with  which  Miss  Nightingale  set  to  work  imme- 
diately upon  her  return,  we  must  remember  what  she  had 
seen  in  the  East.  She  had  "  identified  herself,"  as  we  have 


heard,  "  with  the  heroic  dead,"  and  she  knew  that  many  of 
her  "  children,"  as  she  called  them,  had  died,  not  of  neces- 
sity, but  from  neglect.  "  No  one/'  she  wrote,1  "  can  feel 
for  the  Army  as  I  do.  These  people  who  talk  to  us  have  all 
fed  their  children  on  the  fat  of  the  land  and  dressed  them  in 
velvet  and  silk,  while  we  have  been  away.  I  have  had  to 
see  my  children  dressed  in  a  dirty  blanket  and  an  old  pair 
of  regimental  trousers,  and  to  see  them  fed  on  raw  salt  meat, 
and  nine  thousand  of  my  children  are  lying,  from  causes 
which  might  have  been  prevented,  in  their  forgotten  graves. 
But  I  can  never  forget.  People  must  have  seen  that  long, 
long  dreadful  winter  to  know  what  it  was."  Others  might 
know  the  facts,  but  she  felt  them.  The  strength  of  her 
character  and  powers  lay,  however,  in  the  combination 
of  intense  feeling  with  intellectual  grasp.  She  not  only 
felt  the  neglect  which  had  sacrificed  her  children's  lives, 
but  she  tabulated  the  causes.  The  facts  which  had  come 
under  her  eye,  the  figures  in  which  she  summarized  and 
analysed  them,  filled  her  with  a  passion  of  resentment. 
During  her  residence  in  the  Eastern  hospitals  she  had  seen 
4600  soldiers  die.  And  as  she  studied  the  figures,  the  con- 
clusion was  irresistibly  borne  in  upon  her  that  the  greater 
number  need  not  have  died  at  all.  Many  of  the  diseases  to 
which  they  had  succumbed  were  induced,  and  others  were 
aggravated,  in  the  hospitals  themselves.  Her  personal 
observation  told  her  that  it  was  so  ;  statistical  inquiry 
proved  it.  "  We  had,"  she  pointed  out,  "  during  the  first 
seven  months  of  the  Crimean  campaign,  a  mortality  among 
the  troops  at  the  rate  of  60  per  cent  per  annum  from  disease 
alone,  a  rate  of  mortality  which  exceeds  that  of  the  Great 
Plague  in  London,  and  a  higher  ratio  than  the  mortality  in 
cholera  to  the  attacks."  By  a  series  of  reforms,  largely  the 
result  of  Miss  Nightingale's  own  untiring  efforts  and  vehe- 
ment expostulations,  this  terrible  rate  of  mortality  was 
reduced.  "  We  had,  during  the  last  six  months  of  the  war, 
a  mortality  among  our  sick  not  much  more  than  among  our 
healthy  guards  at  home,  and  a  mortality  among  our  troops, 
in  the  last  five  months,  two-thirds  only  of  what  it  is  among 

1  In  a  letter,  dated  Feb.  9,  1857,  of  which  she  kept  a  copy.     To  whom 
addressed  does  not  appear. 


our  troops  at  home."  It  was  obvious  from  this  comparison 
that  the  mortality  during  the  first  period  was  largely  pre- 
ventable. Here  was  "  a  complete  example — history  does 
not  afford  its  equal — of  an  army,  after  a  great  disaster 
arising  from  neglects,  having  been  brought  into  the  highest 
state  of  health  and  efficiency."  It  was  the  most  complete 
experiment  ever  made  in  army  hygiene.  And  Miss  Nightin- 
gale was  filled  with  a  passionate  desire  that  the  lessons  of 
the  experiment  should  be  taken  to  heart  by  the  nation  ; 
that  such  radical  reforms  should  be  made  as  would  render 
a  repetition  of  the  disaster  and  the  neglects  impossible 
in  the  future.  She  knew  that  nothing  short  of  radical 
reform  would  suffice.  "  There  is  nothing/'  she  wrote 
in  summarizing  the  neglect  of  sanitary  precautions  at 
Scutari,  "in  the  education  of  the  Medical  Officer  — 
nothing  in  the  organization  or  powers  of  the  Army  Medical 
Department — nothing  in  the  whole  Hospital  procedure 
— nothing  in  the  Army  Regulations  which  would  have  met 
the  case  of  these  Hospitals.  And  were  a  similar  necessity 
to  arise  again,  especially  after  the  lapse  of  a  few  years  of 
peace,  the  whole  thing  would  occur  over  again.  This  is  the 
frightful  consideration  which  ought  to  make  us  recall  over 
and  over  again  this  experience — otherwise,  let  bygones  be 
bygones."  1 

But  this  was  not  the  whole  case.  Miss  Nightingale 
carried  further  the  principle,  which  in  these  days  is  per- 
haps at  last  coming  to  be  understood,  that  success  in  war 
depends  upon  preparation  in  peace.  '  You  cannot  improvise 
an  Army,"  says  Lord  Roberts.  '  You  cannot  improvise  the 
sanitary  care  of  an  Army  in  the  field,"  said  Miss  Nightingale. 
If  the  medical  service  in  the  field  were  deficient,  if  the  lessons 
of  sanitary  science  were  neglected  in  war  hospitals,  it  was 
probable,  she  perceived,  that  there  were  like  defects  at  home. 
She  put  her  thesis  to  the  test  of  figures,  and  was  appalled 
at  the  verification  which  they  supplied.  The  idea  had  first 
occurred  to  her  on  meeting  Dr.  Farr,  the  statistician  in  the 
Registrar-General's  office,  at  dinner  with  her  friends  Colonel 
and  Mrs.  Tulloch.  Dr.  Farr  had  talked  of  mortality  tables 
in  civil  life,  and  Miss  Nightingale  resolved  to  compare  them 

1  Notes,  sec.  iii.  p.  viii. 

316        THE  ARMY  DEATH-RATE  IN  PEACE       PT.  m 

with  the  death-rate  in  British  barracks.  She  found  that 
in  the  Army,  from  the  age  of  twenty  to  thirty-five,  the 
mortality  was  nearly  double  that  which  it  was  in  civil  life. 
This  was  the  case  even  in  the  Guards,  who  yet  were  select 
lives,  the  pick  of  the  recruits.  "  With  our  present  amount 
of  sanitary  knowledge,"  she  wrote  to  Sir  John  McNeill 
(March  i,  1857),  "  it  is  as  criminal  to  have  a  mortality  of 
17,  19,  and  20  per  1000  in  the  Line,  Artillery,  and  Guards  in 
England,  when  that  of  Civil  life  is  only  n  per  1000,  as  it 
would  be  to  take  noo  men  per  annum  out  upon  Salisbury 
Plain  and  shoot  them — no  body  of  men  being  so  much 
under  control,  none  so  dependent  upon  their  employers  for 
health,  life,  and  morality  as  the  Army."  And  again  (March 
28)  :  "  This  disgraceful  state  of  our  Chatham  Hospitals, 
which  I  have  been  visiting  lately,1  is  only  one  more  symptom 
of  a  system  which,  in  the  Crimea,  put  to  death  16,000  men— 
the  finest  experiment  modern  history  has  seen  upon  a  large 
scale,  viz.  as  to  what  given  number  may  be  put  to  death 
at  will  by  the  sole  agency  of  bad  food  and  bad  air."  She 
saw  the  facts  and  figures  with  piercing  clearness,  and  per- 
sonal recollections  gave  intensity  to  her  convictions.  She 
had  deep  pity  for  the  victims  of  preventable  disease,  and 
still  deeper  admiration  for  the  uncomplaining  heroism  with 
which  such  sufferings  were  borne.  Nothing  ever  effaced 
from  her  mind  what  she  had  witnessed  in  this  sort  at  Scutari 
and  in  the  Crimea.  "  We  hear  with  horror,"  she  wrote,  "  of 
the  loss  of  400  men  on  board  the  Birkenhead  by  carelessness 
at  sea  ;  but  what  should  we  feel  if  we  were  told  that  noo 
men  are  annually  doomed  to  death  in  our  Army  at  home  by 
causes  which  might  be  prevented  ?  The  men  in  the  Birken- 
head went  down  with  a  cheer.  So  will  our  men  fight  for  us 
to  the  last  with  a  cheer.  The  more  reason  why  all  the  means 
of  health  which  Sanitary  Science  has  put  at  our  command, 
all  the  means  of  morality  which  Educational  Science  has 
given  us,  should  be  given  them."  Then  she  turned  to  the 
Crimea,  described  in  the  words  of  Sir  John  McNeill  and 
Colonel  Tulloch  2  the  sufferings  and  the  endurance  of  the 

1  See  below,  p.  349. 

2  Report  of  the  Commission  of  Inquiry  into  the  Supplies  of  the  British 
Army,  pp.  2,  3. 


troops,  and  drew  her  moral :  "  Upon  those  who  watched, 
week  after  week  and  month  after  month,  this  enduring 
courage,  this  unalterable  patience,  simplicity,  and  good 
strength,  this  voiceless  strength  to  suffer  and  be  still,  it  has 
made  an  impression  never  to  be  forgotten.  The  Anglo- 
Saxon  on  the  Crimean  heights  has  won  for  himself  a  greater 
name  than  the  Spartan  at  Thermopylae,  as  the  six  months' 
struggle  to  endure  was  a  greater  proof  of  what  man  can  do 
than  the  six  hours'  struggle  to  fight.  The  traces  of  the 
name  and  sacrifice  of  Iphigeneia  may  still  be  seen  in  Taurus  ; 
but  a  greater  sacrifice  has  been  there  accomplished  by  a 
'  handful '  of  brave  men  who  defended  that  fatal  position, 
even  to  the  death.  And  if  Inkerman  now  bears  a  name 
like  that  of  Thermopylae,  so  is  the  story  of  those  terrible 
trenches,  through  which  these  men  patiently  and  deliber- 
ately, and  week  after  week,  went,  till  they  returned  no  more, 
greater  than  that  of  Inkerman.  Truly  were  the  Sebastopol 
trenches,  to  our  men,  like  the  gate  of  the  Infernal  Regions — 
Lasciate  ogni  speranza,  voi  cli  entrate.  And  yet  these  men 
would  refuse  to  report  themselves  sick,  lest  they  should 
throw  more  labour  on  their  comrades.  They  would  draw 
their  blankets  over  their  heads  and  die  without  a  word. 
Well  may  it  be  said  that  there  is  hardly  an  example  in  history 
to  compare  with  this  long  and  silent  fortitude.  But  surely 
the  blood  of  such  men  is  calling  to  us  from  the  ground,  not 
to  avenge  them,  but  to  have  mercy  on  their  survivors  !  "  x 
To  that  cry,  Florence  Nightingale,  at  least,  responded 
through  every  fibre  of  her  being.  She  was  resolved  to  be 
"  a  saviour,"  and  to  press  home  every  lesson  of  the  Crimean 

The  strength  of  her  resolve  was  heightened  by  a  sense 
of  the  responsibility  which  her  opportunities  laid  upon  her. 
She  had  enjoyed  peculiar  facilities  for  observing  the  whole 
medical  history  of  the  campaign.  She  had  been  able  to 
take  the  measure  of  many  of  the  military  and  medical 
officials  ;  she  knew  which  were  the  men  from  whom  help 
might  be  expected  in  the  work  of  reform,  and  of  most  of  such 

1  Notes  on  the  Army,  pp.  249-50,  507-8.  The  latter  passage  con- 
tinues with  some  words  which  Miss  Nightingale  had  previously  written, 
and  which  I  have  quoted  as  a  motto  for  the  present  Part  (p.  309). 

3i8     "AT  THE  ALTAR  OF  THE  MURDERED"  PT.  m 

men  she  had  the  ear  and  the  respect.  Her  popular  fame 
added  to  the  authority  with  which  her  experience  and  her 
services  invested  her.  There  were  others  who  knew,  or 
might  have  known,  the  facts  as  well  as  she.  There  were 
few  who  could  exercise  the  same  influence,  and  perhaps 
there  was  not  one  who  could  judge  the  facts  with  the  same 
disinterestedness.  She  was  not  a  politician.  She  had  no 
party  to  defend,  no  officials  to  shield,  no  susceptibilities  to 
consider.  She  had  nothing  to  gain,  nothing  to  lose,  nothing 
to  fear.  She  stood  only  for  a  cause  ;  and,  come  what 
might,  she  was  resolved  to  fling  every  power  of  mind  and 
body  into  it.  Among  her  private  notes  of  1856  I  find  this  : 
"  I  stand  at  the  altar  of  the  murdered  men,  and,  while  I  live, 
I  fight  their  cause." 


The  opportunity  was  not  long  in  coming.  For  a  week 
or  two  at  Lea  Hurst  she  was  engaged  in  such  laborious,  but 
unexciting,  tasks  as  settling  accounts  and  claims  with  the 
nurses  ;  distributing  the  Sultan's  gift  among  them  ;  answer- 
ing congratulatory  addresses  and  the  like  ;  escaping  from 
public  appearances  ; l  and  dealing  with  hailstorms,  as  her 
sister  called  them,  of  miscellaneous  letters.  She  was  be- 
sieged by  Vegetarians,  Spiritualists,  Sectaries,  and  other 
birds  of  the  feather  that  swoop  down  upon  conspicuous 
personages.  With  distressed  gentlewomen  she  was  a  favour- 
ite prey.  "  Can  you  find  soldiers'  orphans  for  me  to  edu- 
cate," wrote  one,  "  because  I  don't  like  leaving  my  sisters  ?  " 
"  Please  find  a  place  for  me,"  wrote  another,  "  where  there 
will  be  something  to  do  not  derogatory.  I  am  an  Irish  lady 
of  family."  The  begging-letters  were  innumerable,  and  the 
answering  of  these  was  taken  over  by  her  sister.  "  I  think 
I  can  now  repeat  the  formula  to  perfection,"  she  said,  "  and 
I  could  write  a  begging-letter  at  the  shortest  notice  in  the 

1  Her  sister  used  to  describe  the  disappointment  of  herself  and  her 
mother  when  Florence  refused  to  accompany  them  to  a  garden-party  at 
Chatsworth.  The  Duke  of  Devonshire  was  a  great  admirer  of  Miss  Nightin- 
gale's work,  and  formed  a  collection  of  newspaper  cuttings  about  it,  which 
he  presented  to  the  Derby  Free  Library.  He  presented  Miss  Nightingale 
with  a  silver  owl,  in  recognition  of  her  wisdom,  and  in  memory  of  her  pet 
(see  above,  p.  160). 


character  of  every  individual,  from  a  staff -officer  to  a 
costermonger,  and  a  widow  with  six  children."  But  here 
Lady  Verney's  lively  pen  suggests  some  little  injustice. 
Officers  did  occasionally  write  to  Miss  Nightingale,  I  find, 
to  beg  her  "  vote  and  interest,"  as  it  were  ;  but  of  begging- 
letters  proper,  she  told  Mr.  Kinglake  that  there  had  never 
come  one  to  her  from  a  soldier.1  Mr.  Kinglake,  I  may  here 
say,  made  her  acquaintance  in  the  spring  of  1857,  when  her 
mind  was  full  of  the  McNeill-Tulloch  affaire.  She  failed  to 
make  him  take  her  view  of  that  controversy,2  and  her  first 
impression  of  the  historian-to-be  of  the  Crimean  War  was 
that  he  would  write  a  book  more  brilliant  than  judicial. 
"  Though  I  have  no  doubt  he  is  a  good  counsel,"  she  wrote,3 
"  he  strikes  me  as  a  very  bad  historian."  Three  years  later, 
she  wrote  in  a  similar  strain  : — 

I  had  two  hours'  good  conversation  with  Mr.  Kinglake.  I 
found  him  exceedingly  courteous  and  agreeable ;  looking  upon 
the  whole  idea  as  a  work  of  art  and  emotion,  and  upon  me  as 
one  of  the  colours  in  the  picture  ;  upon  the  Chelsea  Board  as  a 
safe  (or  rather  an  infallible)  authority ;  upon  McNeill  and  Tulloch 
as  interlopers ;  upon  figures  (arithmetical)  as  worthless ;  upon 
assertion  as  proof.  He  was  utterly  and  self-sufficiently  in  the 
dark  as  to  all  the  real  causes  of  the  Crimean  Mortality.  And 
you  might  as  well  try  to  enlighten  Sir  G.  Brown  himself.  For 
Lord  Raglan  he  has  an  enthusiasm  which  I  fully  share  but  which 
entirely  blinds  Mr.  Kinglake,  who  besides  came  home  long  before 
the  real  distress,  to  the  causes  of  that  distress.  I  put  him  in 
possession  of  some  of  the  materials.  But  I  do  not  hope  that  he 
will,  I  am  quite  sure  that  he  will  not,  make  use  of  them.4 

Miss  Nightingale  here  was  wrong.  Mr.  Kinglake  made 
considerable  use  of  her  materials,  and  drew  from  them  and 
from  his  personal  impressions  an  excellent  picture  of  the 
Lady-in-Chief ;  though  on  the  point  about  which  she  was 
concerned,  the  McNeill-Tulloch  affaire,  he  remained  of  the 
same  opinion  still. 

Of    Miss    Nightingale's    demeanour    during    her    short 

1  Invasion  of  the  Crimea,  vol.  vi.  p.  426  n. 

2  See  below,  p.  336. 

3  In  a  letter  to  Sir  John  McNeill,  May  3,  1857. 

4  Letter  to  Edwin  Chadwick,  Oct.  17,  1860.     He  had  urged  her  to  see 
Mr.  Kinglake  with  a  view  to  indoctrinating  him  with  the  true  moral  of 
the  Crimean  muddles. 

320  A  REST  AT  LEA  HURST  PT.  m 

holiday  at  home  in  August  1856,  there  is  a  pleasant  account 
in  a  letter  from  her  sister  *  :— 

She  is  better,  I  think,  but  I  quite  hate  the  sight  of  the  post 
with  its  long  official  envelopes.  She  will  go  on  as  long  as  she 
has  strength  doing  everything  which  cannot  be  left  without 
detriment  to  the  work  to  which  she  has  devoted  her  life.  I 
cannot  conceive  anything  more  beautiful  than  her  frame  of  mind. 
It  is  so  calm,  so  cheerful,  so  simple.  The  physical  hardships 
one  does  not  wonder  at  her  forgetting  to  speak  of ;  but  the 
marvel  to  me  is  how  the  mental  ones, — the  indifference,  the 
ignorance,  the  cruelty,  the  falsehood  she  has  had  to  encounter — 
never  seem  to  ruffle  her  for  an  instant  (and  never  have  done, 
Aunt  Mai  says).  It  is  as  if  she  dwelt  in  another  atmosphere  of 
peace  and  trust  in  Him  which  nothing  wicked  can  dim.  She  speaks 
of  these  things  sadly  and  quietly  as  some  one  from  another  world 
might  do,  seeing  so  plainly  the  excuses  for  the  wrong-doers, 
while  the  personal  part  never  seems  to  come  in,  and  there  is  such 
a  charm  about  her  perfect  simplicity.  There  is  not  the  smallest 
particle  of  the  martyr  about  her ;  she  is  as  merry  about  little 
things  as  ever,  in  the  intervals  of  her  great  thought,  and  with 
as  much  interest  about  the  little  things  of  home  as  if  she  had  not 
been  wielding  the  management  and  organization  of  the  material 
and  spiritual  comfort  of  the  50,000  men  passing  through  hospital 
and  out.  If  you  heard  all  the  evidence  we  have  had  lately  from 
doctors,  chaplains  and  officers,  you  would  not  think  I  am  ex- 
aggerating in  saying  that  these  depended  mainly  upon  her  during 
the  whole  of  these  21  months.  As  to  her  indifference  to  praise, 
it  is  most  extraordinary  ;  she  just  passes  on  and  does  not  heed  it, 
as  it  comes  in  every  morning  in  its  flood — papers,  music,  poetry, 
friends,  letters,  addresses. 

The  addresses  and  presentations  which  she  most  valued 
came  from  working-men.  A  case  of  Sheffield  cutlery,  pre- 
sented by  artisans  in  that  city,  was  always  treasured,  and  was 
the  subject  of  a  specific  bequest  in  her  will.  She  was  much 
touched  by  an  address  from  1800  working-men  at  Newcastle- 
on-Tyne.  "  My  dear  friends,"  she  wrote  in  the  course  of  her 
reply  (August  1856),  "  the  things  that  are  deepest  in  our 
hearts  are  perhaps  what  it  is  most  difficult  to  express.  '  She 
hath  done  what  she  could/  These  words  I  inscribed  on  the 
tomb  of  one  of  my  best  helpers  when  I  left  Scutari.  It  has 
been  my  endeavour,  in  the  sight  of  God,  to  do  as  she  has 

1  To  Miss  Ellen  Toilet  from  Lea  Hurst. 


Presently  there  came  to  Lea  Hurst  a  letter  of  much 
importance  in  Miss  Nightingale's  life.  Her  friend,  Sir  James 
Clark,  the  Queen's  physician,  wrote  from  Osborne  (August 
23,  1856)  begging  her  to  stay  during  the  following  month 
at  his  home,  Birk  Hall,  near  Ballater.  The  air  of  Scotland 
would  be  beneficial,  he  said,  to  her  health  ;  and  there  were 
other  reasons.  The  Court  would  shortly  be  moved  to  Bal- 
moral. The  Queen  would  doubtless  invite  Miss  Nightingale 
there.  Meanwhile  Her  Majesty  knew  of  the  present  invita- 
tion ;  and  there  would  be  opportunity  at  Birk  Hall  for  quiet 
and  informal  talk  in  addition  to  any  "  command  "  visit  at 
Balmoral.  Miss  Nightingale  heard  in  this  letter  a  call 
hardly  less  important  than  that  to  the  Crimea,  two  years 
before.  She  had  served  with  the  Queen's  army  in  the  East. 
Her  services  had  received  sympathetic  support  and  appro- 
bation from  the  Queen  and  the  Prince.  She  was  now  to 
have  full  opportunities  for  bringing  to  their  knowledge,  in 
personal  intercourse,  what  she  had  seen  of  the  soldiers' 
sufferings,  and  for  enlisting  their  support,  if  she  could,  in 
what  she  knew  to  be  necessary  for  the  prevention  of  such 
sufferings  in  the  future.  She  succeeded,  as  will  presently 
appear ;  and  she  deserved  her  success  by  the  thoroughness 
with  which  she  prepared  herself  to  make  the  best  use  of 
her  opportunity. 

The  two  men  who  had  thrown  light  most  searchingly 
on  the  defects  of  the  campaign,  in  the  matter  of  supply  and 
transport,  were  Sir  John  McNeill  and  Colonel  Tulloch.  Miss 
Nightingale  arranged  to  see  and  confer  with  the  former  at 
Edinburgh  on  her  way  to  Ballater.  Colonel  Tulloch,  though 
he  was  far  distant  at  the  time,  agreed  to  join  the  conclave, 
and,  meanwhile,  he  wrote  (from  Killin,  Sept.  6)  :  "  If  H.M. 
should  afford  you  an  opportunity  of  telling  the  whole  truth, 
as  I  think  it  likely  she  wishes  to  do  from  her  desire  to  see 
you  under  another  roof,  without  her  enquiries  being  noticed, 
perhaps  you  might  bring  to  her  knowledge,"  etc.,  etc. 
[various  points  which  he  deemed  of  special  importance]. 
Mr.  Herbert's  advice  was  more  general.  "  I  hope,"  he 
wrote  (Sept.  9),  "  that  your  Highland  foray  will  do  you 
good.  I  am  sure  it  will,  if  you  find  help  and  encouragement 
for  your  plans.  I  hope  you  will  talk  fully,  and  illustrate  by 

VOL.  I  Y 


facts  and  details.  They  explain  best.  Men  and  women 
require  picture-books,  just  as  much  as  children,  when  they 
are  to  learn  something  of  which  they  know  nothing  pre- 
viously." She  armed  herself,  by  study  of  statistics,  by 
collection  of  her  notes  and  memoranda,  by  inquiries  on  all 
sides,  for  every  occasion  which  the  sympathetic  interest  of 
the  Queen  or  the  Prince  might  give  her.  She  felt,  and  others 
felt,  that  great  things  might  turn  on  her  use  of  such  occasions. 
The  fullest  and  most  suggestive  letter  which  she  received 
was  from  Colonel  Lefroy.  He  was  employed  at  the  War 
Office.  He  knew  the  weaknesses  of  his  Chief.  He  knew 
also  the  strength  of  the  Department  to  resist.  He  had  been 
employed,  as  we  have  heard  already/on  a  confidential  mission 
to  the  Crimea,  and  had  formed  the  highest  opinion  of  "  the 
glorious  fidelity,  the  self-sacrifice,  the  heroic  courage,  and 
single-minded  devotion  "  with  which  Miss  Nightingale  had 
performed  her  duties  in  the  East.  He  looked  for  great 
results  from  her  visit  to  Scotland  : — 

(Colonel  Lefroy  to  Miss  Nightingale.)  August  28.  ...  I 
never  had  the  good  fortune  to  have  an  interview  with  the  Queen, 
but  I  have  had  several  with  Prince  Albert.  The  Prince  ex- 
hibited such  a  remarkable  knowledge  of  the  subjects  he  was 
enquiring  about,  so  strong  and  clear  and  business-like  a  capacity 
that  you  will,  I  think,  find  it  both  expedient  and  necessary,  or 
rather  unavoidable,  to  enter  into  a  full  and  unreserved  communi- 
cation of  your  observations,  and  be  tempted  irresistibly  to  let  fall 
such  suggestions  as  are  most  likely  to  germinate  in  that  high 
latitude.  If  I  am  correct  in  this  impression,  a  similar  frankness 
with  Lord  Panmure  follows.  I  was  once  amused  by  the  Prince 
remarking  on  a  point  of  military  education,  "  I  have  urged  it 
over  and  over  again ;  they  do  not  mind  what  I  say,"  showing  that 
even  he  cannot  always  overcome  the  vis  inertiae  of  Departmental 
indifference  or  prevail  on  people  to  move.  It  may  be  so  in  any 
question  of  medical  reform.  Lord  Panmure  hates  detail,  and  does 
not  appreciate  system.  He  can  reform  but  not  organise.  It  is 
organisation  we  want,  but  which  arouses  every  instinct  of  re- 
sistance in  the  British  bosom,  and  it  is  this  which  can  be  least 
influenced  by  H.M.'s  personal  interest  in  it.  Like  a  rickety 
clumsy  machine,  with  a  pin  loose  here  and  a  tooth  broken  there, 
and  a  makeshift  somewhere  else,  in  which  the  force  of  Hercules 
may  be  exhausted  in  a  needless  friction  and  obscure  hitches  before 

1  See  above,  p.  297. 


the  hands  are  got  to  move,  so  is  our  Executive,  with  the  Treasury, 
the  Horse  Guards,  the  War  Department,  the  Medical  Depart- 
ment all  out  of  gear,  but  all  required  to  move  together  before  a 
result  can  be  attained.  He  will  be  stronger  than  Hercules,  who 
gets  out  of  it  the  movement  we  require.  I  think  I  would  recom- 
mend ...  [a  long  statement  of  suggested  reforms,  including 
"  a  Commission  to  enquire  into  the  existing  Regulations  for 
Hospital  Administration  "].  In  some  form  or  other  we  have 
almost  a  right  to  ask  at  your  hands  an  account  of  the  trials  you 
have  gone  through,  the  difficulties  you  have  encountered,  and 
the  evils  you  have  observed — not  only  because  no  other  person 
ever  was  or  can  be  in  such  a  position  to  give  it,  but  because, 
permit  me  to  say,  no  one  else  is  so  gifted.  It  will  be  no  ordinary 
task  ;  and  no  ordinary  powers  of  reasoning,  illustrating,  grouping 
facts  will  be  requisite.  Another  might  repeat  what  you  told  him, 
but  the  burning  conviction,  the  vis  viva  of  the  soul  cannot  be 
imparted.  ...  It  appears  to  me  that  either  a  confidential  report 
addressed  to  Lord  Panmure  upon  a  formal  request,  or  evidence 
before  such  a  Commission  as  I  have  proposed  above  would  be 
suitable  means — the  latter  the  most  so,  as  I  fear  that  more 
publicity  than  attends  confidential  reports  will  be  necessary. 
I  earnestly  hope  that  your  interviews  with  the  Queen  and  Lord 
Panmure  may  be  the  means  of  leading  both  to  interest  them- 
selves effectually  in  the  vital  reforms  required.  The  axe  has  to 
be  laid  to  the  root  of  the  tree  yet. 

Various  friends  tendered  advice  as  to  what  Miss  Nightin- 
gale should  say  if  she  were  to  be  asked  what  the  Queen  could 
"  do  for  her/'  She  might  petition  to  be  placed  in  charge 
of  the  new  hospital  about  to  be  built  at  Netley,  or  to  be 
appointed  Lady  Superintendent  of  Nurses  in  all  military 
hospitals,  and  so  forth.  Her  own  ideas  were  on  the  lines  of 
Colonel  Lefroy's  letter.  She  would,  first,  tell  the  whole 
truth  of  the  campaign,  so  far  as  it  had  come  under  her  per- 
sonal observation.  If  given  any  encouragement  to  proceed, 
she  would  explain  in  general  terms  the  kind  of  remedies 
which  she  deemed  essential.  She  would  offer,  if  the  con- 
versation took  a  suitable  turn,  to  embody  her  observations 
and  suggestions  in  a  written  report.  If  further  honoured 
by  any  suggestion  of  Royal  favour,  she  would  ask — for  her- 
self, nothing  ;  but  for  the  sake  of  the  soldiers,  a  Royal 
Commission  to  inquire  into  the  whole  condition  of  barracks, 
hospitals,  and  the  Army  Medical  Department. 



Thus  armed,  and  thus  resolved,  Miss  Nightingale  set  out 
for  Scotland,  under  her  father's  escort.  Between  father 
and  daughter  there  was  genuine  affection  ;  but  Mr.  Nightin- 
gale was  in  indifferent  health,  and  was  constitutionally  of  a 
retiring  disposition.  After  a  few  days  he  beat  a  retreat. 
It  had  been  supposed  that  the  "  foray  "  would  be  short. 
In  fact  it  lasted  for  a  month.  Miss  Nightingale  reached 
Edinburgh  on  September  15,  and,  staying  there  a  few  days, 
took  occasion  to  inspect  the  barracks  and  hospitals.  She 
left  for  Birk  Hall  on  September  19,  and  two  days  later  she 
was  introduced  to  the  Queen  and  the  Prince  at  Balmoral  by 
Sir  James  Clark.  "  She  put  before  us,"  wrote  the  Prince  in 
his  diary,  "  all  the  defects  of  our  present  military  hospital 
system,  and  the  reforms  that  are  needed.  We  are  much 
pleased  with  her  ;  she  is  extremely  modest."  1  A  few  days 
later  (Sept.  26)  the  Queen  drove  over  from  Balmoral  to 
Birk  Hall,  and  Miss  Nightingale  had  "  tea  and  a  great  talk  " 
with  Her  Majesty.  The  impression  made  on  the  Queen 
has  been  already  recorded  in  her  letter  to  the  Duke  of  Cam- 
bridge :  "  I  wish  we  had  her  at  the  War  Office."  The  Duke, 
who  was  not  exactly  a  red-hot  reformer,  must  have  been 
thankful  that  the  wish  of  his  August  Relative  for  a  new 
broom  did  not  extend  to  the  Horse  Guards.  "  My  hopes 
were  somewhat  raised,"  wrote  Miss  Nightingale  to  Sir  John 
McNeill  (Sept.  27),  "  by  the  great  willingness  of  the  Queen, 
Prince  Albert,  and  Sir  George  Grey,  all  of  whom  I  have 
seen  together  and  separately,  to  listen  and  to  ask  questions." 
"  I  have  had  most  satisfactory  interviews,"  she  wrote  to  her 
Uncle  Sam  (Sept.  25),  "  with  the  Queen,  the  Prince,  and  Sir 
George  Grey.  Satisfactory,  that  is,  as  far  as  their  will, 
not  as  their  power  is  concerned."  Miss  Nightingale  is  not 
the  only  impatient  reformer  who  has  been  tempted  to  wish 
that  knots  of  red  tape  could  be  cut  by  a  direct  exercise  of 
the  Royal  Prerogative.  The  Prince  knew  "  in  what  limits  " 
he  and  the  Queen  moved.  Nothing  could  be  done  except 
through  Ministers,  and  the  Minister  for  War  would  shortly  be 

1  Life  of  the  Prince  Consort,  vol.  iii.  p.  503. 


in  attendance  at  Balmoral.  "  The  Queen,"  continued  Miss 
Nightingale,  "  wished  me  to  remain  to  see  Lord  Panmure 
here  rather  than  in  London,  because  she  thinks  it  more 
likely  that  something  might  be  done  with  him  here  with  her 
to  back  me.  I  don't.  But  I  am  obliged  to  succumb."  So 
she  stayed  on  at  Birk  Hall,  her  "  command"  visit  to  Balmoral 
being'postponed  till  Lord  Panmure  should  arrive.  The  Queen 
sent  a  good  character  of  Miss  Nightingale  to  the  Minister 
in  advance.  "  Lord  Panmure,"  she  wrote,  "  will  be  much 
gratified  and  struck  with  Miss  Nightingale — her  powerful, 
clear  head,  and  simple,  modest  manner."  1  The  Queen  had 
"  accepted  with  great  grace  "  the  suggestion  that  any  letter 
of  recommendations  sent  by  Miss  Nightingale '  to  Lord 
Panmure  should  be  sent  also  to  Her  Majesty  direct. 

The  point  of  interest  among  Miss  Nightingale's  Reform 
"  Cabinet  "  now  shifted  from  the  Queen  to  her  Ministers. 
The  Court  had  been  won.  "  Lord  Auckland  says,"  wrote 
Lady  Verney  to  her  sister,  "  that  he  hears  from  Lord  Claren- 
don that  the  Queen  was  enchanted  with  you."  But  what 
impression  would  she  make  upon  the  less  susceptible  "  Bison" 
(for  so  the  burly  Scot,  Lord  Panmure,  was  called  by  Miss 
Nightingale  and  her  friends)  ?  She  had  reported  herself  to 
him  immediately  on  her  return  from  the  East,  and  he  had 
replied  politely,  but  postponed  the  pleasure  of  an  interview. 
Mr.  Herbert  was  not  sure  that  much  would  come  of  it  even 
in  the  sympathetic  air  of  Balmoral.  "  I  gather,"  he  wrote 
(Oct.  3),  "  that  upon  the  whole  you  are  pleased  with  the 
result  of  your  conversations  with  the  Queen  and  Prince 
Albert.  I  hope  you  will  do  equally  well  with  Panmure, 
tho'  I  am  not  sanguine  ;  for,  tho'  he  has  plenty  of  shrewd 
sense,  there  is  a  vis  inertiae  in  his  resistance  which  is  very 
difficult  to  overcome."  Sir  John  McNeill  was  more  hopeful. 
He  attached  great  importance  to  the  personal  factor  in 
Miss  Nightingale's  favour  : — 

"  I  anticipate  considerable  advantage,"  he  wrote  (Sept.  29), 
"  from  your  interview  with  Lord  Panmure.  He  has  seen  your 

1  Panmure,  vol.  ii.  p.  306. 

326          ADVICE  FROM  SIR  JOHN  McNEILL       PT.  m 

name  in  every  newspaper,  and  probably  has  no  very  accurate, 
or  perhaps  a  very  inaccurate  notion,  of  what  sort  of  person  Miss 
Florence  Nightingale  is.  He  may  perhaps  think  that  a  lady 
whose  name  is  so  frequently  mentioned  can  hardly  be  indifferent 
to  popular  applause  and  that  with  so  strong  a  hold  upon  the 
feelings  of  the  nation,  she  is  not  unlikely  to  use  it  for  the  gratifica- 
tion of  personal  ambition.  If  he  has  such  notions,  he  will  be  un- 
deceived. He  will  find  that  influenced  by  higher  motives  you 
have  no  desire  to  employ  your  influence  for  any  other  purpose 
than  to  do  all  the  good  you  can  in  the  work  which  you  have 
chosen,  and  that  the  absence  of  personal  motive  it  is  which  gives 
you  the  courage  and  the  right  to  speak  fearlessly  the  whole  truth, 
and  to  persevere  in  the  direct  line  of  duty  whatever  may  be  the 
difficulties  or  the  obstacles.  He  will  see  that  you  have  no  desire 
to  become  in  any  sense  a  rival,  and  that  it  rests  with  him  to  make 
you  a  co-adjutor  or  an  opponent,  as  he  may  be  willing  or  un- 
willing to  promote  the  good  which  you  consider  it  your  plain 
duty  as  far  as  in  you  lies  to  carry  out." 

Sir  John's  attitude  to  Miss  Nightingale  was  always  a 
little  paternal,  and  I  think  that  we  may  perhaps  read  be- 
tween the  lines  of  his  well-turned  sentences  a  hint  and  a 
caution,  under  the  guise  of  an  encomium.  The  hint  was 
not  needed.  She  was  entirely  free  from  any  temptation 
to  use  her  popularity  for  purposes  of  personal  ambition  ; 
but  she  was  to  show  considerable  skill  in  the  use  of  it, 
as  a  weapon  in  reserve,  for  furthering  her  public  objects. 
Mr.  Herbert  and  Sir  John  McNeill  were  both  right.  The 
personal  factor  prevailed,  as  Sir  John  hoped  ;  and  Miss 
Nightingale  won  the  Minister,  even  as  she  had  won  the  Court 
— or  seemed  to  win  him.  He  promised  all  she  asked  ;  but 
it  was  also  as  Mr.  Herbert  feared,  and  the  force  of  passive 
resistance  was  long  maintained. 

When  Lord  Panmure  reached  Balmoral,  Miss  Nightin- 
gale was  commanded  thither.  The  Court  Circular  (Oct.  6) 
chronicled  her  attendance  at  church  with  the  Queen,  and  at 
the  ball  given  to  the  gillies  it  was  noticed  that  she  was  seated 
with  the  Royal  Family.  She  had  an  opportunity  to  "  tell 
the  Prince  the  whole  story  "  of  her  experiences  in  the  East. 
Another  side  of  her  interests  also  came  into  play  on  this 
occasion.  She  had  talks  with  Prince  Albert  "  on  meta- 
physics and  religion."  Then  Lord  Panmure,  following  in 
the  steps  of  his  Sovereign,  went  to  see  Miss  Nightingale  at 

CH.  i   MISS  NIGHTINGALE  AND  "  THE  BISON  "    327 

Birk  Hall,  and  they  had  long  conversations.  "  You  may 
like  to  know,"  wrote  Mr.  John  Clark  *  (Oct.  13),  "  that  you 
fairly  overcame  Pan.  We  found  him  with  his  mane  ab- 
solutely silky,  and  a  loving  sadness  pervading  his  whole 
being."  "  I  forget  whether  I  told  you,"  wrote  Sidney 
Herbert  (Nov.  2),  "  that  the  Bison  wrote  to  me  very  much 
pleased  with  his  interview  with  you.  He  says  that  he  was 
very  much  surprised  at  your  physical  appearance,  as  I 
think  you  must  have  been  with  his.  God  bless  you  !  " 
Lord  Panmure,  I  suspect,  was  one  of  those  men  who  presume 
that  any  strong-minded  woman  will  be  physically  ill- 
favoured.  At  any  rate  Miss  Nightingale  greatly  impressed 
the  Minister,  even  as  the  Queen  had  predicted.  In  general 
terms,  Lord  Panmure  seemed  very  favourable  to  Miss 
Nightingale's  suggestions.  It  was  agreed  that  she  should 
presently  write  out  her  experiences  with  notes  on  necessary 
reforms  for  the  information  of  the  Government,  and  in  this 
request  the  Prime  Minister,  Lord  Palmerston,  associated 
himself  with  Lord  Panmure.  The  Minister  for  War  seemed 
well  disposed  towards  a  scheme  to  which  she  attached  great 
importance — the  establishment  of  an  Army  Medical  School. 
He  agreed  in  principle  to  the  appointment  of  a  Royal  Com- 
mission. So  she  had  gained,  it  seemed,  all  she  wanted,  and 
the  Minister  threw  in  an  additional  point  of  his  own.2  The 
plans  for  the  hospital  at  Netley — the  first  General  Military 
Hospital — were  at  this  time  far  advanced.  Lord  Panmure 
would  send  the  plans  to  Miss  Nightingale,  and  would  be 
much  obliged  for  her  remarks  upon  them.  Conversation 
on  this  and  all  the  other  subjects  just  mentioned  was 
to  be  resumed  when  they  would  both  be  in  London  in 


When  news  of  the  spoils,  which  Miss  Nightingale  had 
brought  back  from  her  Highland  "  foray,"  reached  her  little 

1  Son  of  Sir  James,  whom  he  succeeded  in  the  baronetcy  ;    married 
to  Charlotte  Coltman.     There  was  afterwards  a  family  connection  with 
the  Nightingales,  as  Lady  Clark's  nephew,  Mr.  William  Coltman,  married 
Miss  Nightingale's  cousin,  Bertha  Smith. 

2  Which,  however,  may  not  improbably  have  been  suggested  to  him  by 
the  Queen.     For  Her  Majesty's  initiative  and  keen  interest  in  the  matter 
of  the  Netley  Hospital,  see  Life  of  the  Prince  Consort,  vol.  iii.pp.  227,  491. 

328          PLANS  FOR  A  ROYAL  COMMISSION       PT.  m 

"  Cabinet  "  of  reformers,  their  hopes  ran  high,  and  arrange- 
ments were  promptly  made  for  meetings  and  consultations. 
The  Lady-in-Chief  broke  her  journey  southwards  at  Edin- 
burgh, in  order  to  confer  again  with  Sir  John  McNeill.  On 
October  15  she  was  back  at  Lea  Hurst,  and  entered  into 
correspondence  with  other  of  the  confederates.  On  Novem- 
ber 2,  she  came  to  London,  making  her  headquarters  at 
the  Burlington  in  Old  Burlington  Street,  the  favourite 
hostelry  at  this  time  of  her  family  :  a  house  which  came 
to  be  known  among  those  behind  the  scenes  as  "  The  Little 
War  Office."  She  drew  up  lists  of  an  ideal  Royal  Commis- 
sion, and  circulated  it  among  her  allies  for  their  suggestions, 
and,  in  the  case  of  those  whom  she  proposed  to  nominate, 
for  their  consent.  One  of  these  latter  was  her  friend  and 
physician  at  Scutari,  Dr.  Sutherland.  "  I  have  just  re- 
ceived your  letter/'  he  wrote  (Nov.  12),  "  and  am  led  to 
believe  that  there  must  be  a  foundation  of  truth  under  the 
old  myth  about  the  Amazon  women  somewhere  to  the  East 
of  Scutari.  All  I  can  say  is  that  if  you  had  been  queen  of 
that  respectable  body  in  old  days,  Alexander  the  Great 
would  have  had  rather  a  bad  chance.  Your  project  has 
developed  itself  far  better  than  I  expected,  and  I  think  I  see 
a  way  of  doing  good  and  therefore  I  shall  serve  on  the  Com- 
mission. Get  Alexander.  Nobody  else  if  you  cannot.  He 
is  our  man.  I  am  to  meet  you  to-night  at  Sir  James  Clark's 
to  dinner,  and  shall  be  very  glad  to  talk  over  the  subject 
further."  Dr.  Sutherland  assumed,  it  will  be  seen,  that  the 
Amazon  would  carry  him  in ;  and  she  did.  Over  Dr. 
Alexander  there  was  a  stiff  fight.  Miss  Nightingale  had  been 
greatly  impressed  in  the  Crimea  by  his  skill,  fearlessness,  and 
activity.  He  had  now  received  an  appointment  in  Canada, 
and  Lord  Panmure  objected  to  recalling  him ;  but  Mr. 
Herbert  made  his  own  acceptance  of  the  Chairmanship 
conditional  on  the  appointment  of  Dr.  Alexander,  "  the 
ablest  and  most  effective  man  with  our  Army."  1  Sir  James 
Clark's  consent  to  serve  was  doubtless  secured  at  the  dinner 
just  mentioned.  Sir  James  Ranald  Martin  was  also  willing, 
and  he  had  a  candidate  of  his  own.  "  Farr,"  he  wrote  to 
Colonel  Tulloch  (Nov.  n),  "  ought  to  be  a  member.  I  wish 

1  Stanmore,  vol.  ii.  p.  121. 


you  would  take  an  early  opportunity  of  bringing  the  question 
before  Miss  Nightingale  with  all  the  force  of  which  you  are 
capable."  She  was  already  in  correspondence  with  Dr. 
William  Farr  ;  they  had  a  link  in  their  common  passion  for 
statistics.  She  did  not  succeed  in  carrying  him  on  to  the 
Commission,  but  they  collaborated  in  the  preparation  of 
statistical  evidence  for  it.  Then  she  approached  Sir  Henry 
Storks,  who  was  willing  to  serve.  She  hoped  to  be  able  to 
include  her  friend  Colonel  Lefroy  also,  but  there  she  failed. 
That  Sidney  Herbert  was  the  Chairman  of  her  choice  goes 
without  saying.  The  other  appointment  to  which  she 
naturally  attached  vital  importance  was  that  of  a  secretary, 
and  her  choice  fell  upon  Dr.  Graham  Balfour.1  Having 
settled  the  Commissioners,  Miss  Nightingale  proceeded  to 
draft  their  Instructions,  and  this  draft  also  she  circulated 
for  criticism  and  advice. 

She  was  now  ready  for  the  promised  interview  with  Lord 
Panmure.  On  the  morning  of  the  fateful  day,  Sir  James 
Clark  wrote  to  her  :  "I  think  it  would  be  well  when  you  see 
Lord  Panmure  to  make  him  understand  that  the  enquiry  is 
intended  as,  and  must  comprehend,  an  investigation  into 
the  whole  Medical  Department  of  the  Army,  and  everything 
regarding  the  health  of  the  Army."  A  needless  reminder 
to  her  who  had  everything  cut  and  dried  in  that  sense  long 
before !  "I  long  to  hear,"  wrote  Mr.  Herbert,  "  what 
results  you  obtain  from  the  Bison."  Miss  Nightingale 
preserved  her  note  of  the  results  written  at  the  time,  and 
it  is  so  characteristic  of  her  humour  that  I  print  it  very 
nearly  in  extenso  : — 

[Nov.  16.]    My  "  Pan  "  here  for  three  hours.     Wrote  down — 

President— Mi.  Herbert  } 

General  Storks  Mury. 

Colonel  Lefroy  J 

Dr.  A.  Smith  | 

Dr.  McLachlan  [Army  Doctors. 

Dr.  Brown 

Dr.  Sutherland  ) 

Dr.  Martin  J  Civil  Doctors. 

Dr.  Farr 

Secretary — Dr.  Balfour  .  .  Army  Doctor. 

1  Thomas  Graham  Balfour  (1813-1891),  M.D.  of  Edinburgh  ;  compiler 
of  the  first  four  volumes  of  Statistics  of  the  British  Army  ;  assistant-surgeon 
to  the  Grenadier  Guards. 

330         INTERVIEW  WITH  LORD  PANMURE      PT.  m 

Will  have  Drs.  balanced.  Not  fair  :  two  soldiers  reckon  as 
against  Civil  element.  Whenever  I  represented  it  (I  did  not 
know  old  "  Pan  "  was  so  sharp),  he  offered  to  take  off  Col.  Lefroy  ! 
So  I  had  to  knock  under. 

Won't  bring  back  Alexander  from  Canada.  Will  have  three 
Army  Doctors.  So,  like  a  sensible  General  in  retreat,  I  named 
[Dr.  Joseph]  Brown,  Surgeon  Major,  Grenadier  Guards,  therefore 
not  wedded  to  Dr.  Smith,  an  old  Peninsular  and  Reformer. 
Left  Lord  P.  his  McLachlan,  who  will  do  less  harm  than  a  better 
man.  He  has  generously  struck  out  Milton.1  Seeing  him  in  such 
a  "  coming  on  disposition,"  I  was  so  good  as  to  leave  him  Dr. 
Smith,  the  more  so  as  I  could  not  help  it. 

Have  a  tough  fight  of  it :  Dr.  Balfour  as  Secretary.  Pan 
amazed  at  my  condescension  in  naming  a  Military  Doctor ;  so 
I  concealed  the  fact  of  the  man  being  a  dangerous  animal  and 
obstinate  innovator. 

Failed  in  one  point.  Unfairly.  Pan  told  Sir  J.  Clark  he  was 
to  be  on.  Won't  have  him  now.  Sir  J.  Clark  has  become  in- 
terested. Agreeable  to  the  Queen  to  have  him — just  as  well  to 
have  Her  on  our  side.  .  .  . 

Besides  things  Ld.  P.  finds  convenient  to  forget,  has  really 
an  inconveniently  bad  memory  as  to  names,  facts,  dates,  and 
numbers.  Hope  I  know  what  discipline  is  too  well,  having  had 
the  honour  of  holding  H.M.'s  Commission,  to  have  a  better 
memory  than  my  Chief. 

Pan  has  four  Army  Doctors  really,  .*.  according  to  his 
principle  I  have  a  right  to  four  Civilians. 

Instructions :  general  and  comprehensive,  comprising  the 
whole  Army  Medical  Department,  and  the  health  of  the  Army, 
at  home  and  abroad.  Semi-official  letter  from  Secretary  of  State 
on  Memorandum  from  President  giving  details.  Smith,  equal 
parts  lachrymose  and  threatening,  will  say,  "  I  did  not  under- 
stand that  we  were  to  inquire  into  this." 

My  master  jealous.  Does  not  wish  it  to  be  supposed  he 
takes  suggestions  from  me,  which  crime  indeed  very  unjust  to 
impute  to  him. 

You  must  drag  it  through.     If  not  you,  no  one  else. 

(i)  Col.  Lefroy  to  be  instructed  by  Lord  P.  to  draw  up 
scheme  and  estimate  for  Army  Medical  School,  appendix  to  his 
own  Military  Education. — /  won. 

1  Mr.  Milton  had  been  sent  out  to  Scutari  by  the  War  Office  to  assist 
the  Purveyor-in-Chief,  and  Miss  Nightingale  considered  that  he  had  dealt 
only  in  official  "  whitewash." 


(2)  Netley  Hospital  plans  to  be  privately  reported  on  by 
Sutherland  and  me  to  Lord  P. — /  won. 

(3)  Commissariat  to  be  put  on  same  footing  as  Indian. — I 

(4)  Camp  at  Aldershot  to  "  do  for  "  themselves — kill  cattle, 
bake  bread,  build,  drain,  shoe-make,  tailor,  &c. — Lord  P.  will 
consider  :    quite  agrees  ;    means  "  will  do  nothing." 

(5)  Sir  J.  Hall  not  to  be  made  Director-General  while  Lord 
P.  in  office. — /  won. 

(6)  Colonel  Tulloch  to  be  knighted. — I  lost  (unless  I  can 
make  Col.  T.  accept  an  agreement,  which  I  shan't).1 

(7)  About  Statistics,  Lord  P.  said  (i.)  the  strength  of  these 
regiments  averaged  only  200,  (ii.)  denied  the  mortality,  (iii.)  said 
that  statistics  prove  anything. — And  I,  a  soldier,  must  not  know 
better  than  my  Chief. 

(8)  Lord  P.  contradicted  everything — so  that  I  retain  the 
most  sanguine  expectations  of  success. 

A  good  three  hours'  work  !  But  many  months  were  to 
elapse  before  Lord  Panmure's  promise  to  appoint  a  Com- 
mission was  fulfilled.  It  will  be  convenient,  however,  to 
anticipate  the  course  of  events  in  one  respect,  and  to  finish 
here  the  story  of  the  personnel  of  the  Commission.  Lord 
Panmure  at  once  wrote  to  Mr.  Herbert,  asking  him  to  accept 
the  Chairmanship  :  "I  wrote  to  Panmure,"  he  sent  word  to 
Miss  Nightingale  from  Wilton  (Nov.  25),  "  as  agreed  between 
us,  as  suaviter  as  I  could  as  to  the  modo,  but  in  re  trying  to 
name  the  Commission  and  define  the  Instructions.  I  hope 
I  shall  hear  to-morrow  from  him,  and  I  will  let  you  know 
how  the  land  lies  the  moment  I  get  any  sign  from  him. 
Supposing  that  he  yields,  it  will  be  a  task  of  great  labour 
and  difficulty,  but  one  well  worth  undertaking  with  a  fair 
prospect  of  attaining  an  immense  good,  even  if  we  do  not 
get  all  we  want.  If  he  stands  out,  we  must  hold  another 
Council  for  which  I  will  run  up."  The  text  of  Mr.  Herbert's 
letter  to  Lord  Panmure  has  been  printed  elsewhere.2  On 
the  matter  of  personnel,  he  suggested  General  Storks  and 
Colonel  Lefroy  ;  two  army  doctors,  one  of  whom  he  insisted 
should  be  Dr.  Alexander ;  two  civil  doctors,  one  of  whom 
should  be  Sir  James  Clark ;  a  sanitary  authority,  Dr. 
Sutherland  ;  and,  lastly,  a  good  examining  lawyer.  The 

1  On  this  subject,  see  below,  p.  338. 
2  Stanmore,  vol.  ii.  pp.  119-122. 

332          PERSONNEL  OF  THE  COMMISSION        PT.  m 

Commission,  as  ultimately  appointed,  consisted  of 
Mr.  Herbert  (Chairman),  Mr.  Augustus  Stafford,  M.P., 
General  Storks,  Dr.  A.  Smith,  Dr.  T.  Alexander,  Sir 
T.  Phillips,  Sir  J.  Ranald  Martin,  Sir  James  Clark,  and 
Dr.  J.  Sutherland,  with  Dr.  Graham  Balfour  as  Secre- 
tary. If  the  reader  will  compare  the  ten  names  resulting 
from  Miss  Nightingale's  bargaining  with  Lord  Panmure, 
it  will  be  seen  that  there  were  four  changes.  She  lost  one 
friend,  Colonel  Lefroy,  but  gained  another,  Mr.  Stafford. 
She  gained  Dr.  Alexander  in  place  of  Dr.  McLachlan,  and 
Sir  James  Clark  in  place  of  Dr.  Brown.  Dr.  Farr  was  struck 
off  in  favour  of  Mr.  Herbert's  "  good  examining  lawyer," 
Sir  T.  Phillips.  He  was  the  one  dark  horse  ;  and,  before  the 
Commission  sat,  Miss  Nightingale  was  asked  to  meet  him. 
"  We  propose  an  irregular  mess,"  wrote  Mrs.  Herbert  to 
her  (May  12,  '57),  "  as  Sidney  thinks  Sir  T.  Phillips  wants 
cramming."  There  was  on  the  Commission  only  one 
upholder  of  the  old  regime,  Dr.  Andrew  Smith. 

Had  the  facts  recited  in  this  chapter  been  known  at  the 
time,  Miss  Nightingale's  opponents  might  have  found  some 
warrant  for  a  suggestion  that  she  had  packed  the  Commission. 
But  she  and  Mr.  Herbert  packed  it  only  in  the  public  interest. 
In  discussions  about  women's  rights  it  is  sometimes  said 
that  women  need  no  other  opportunities  for  influence  than 
such  as  have  always  been  within  their  reach.  Miss  Nightin- 
gale, who  was  in  favour  of  Female  Suffrage,  would  hardly 
have  gained  more  influence  by  the  possession  of  a  vote. 
But  then  very  few  women,  and  not  many  men,  have  the 
opportunities,  the  industry,  the  mental  grasp,  and  the 
strength  of  will  which  in  combination  were  the  secret  of 
"  the  Nightingale  power." 

Lord  Panmure  delayed  his  formal  reply  to  Mr.  Herbert's 
letter  of  conditions,  but  sent  a  short  note  meanwhile  of  a 
friendly  character.  Mr.  Herbert  at  once  forwarded  it  to 
Miss  Nightingale  (Nov.  30,  '56),  and  said  :  "  I  hope  the  note 
augurs  well.  ...  All  I  can  promise  is  to  do  my  best,  and 
to  postpone  all  other  business  to  this  one  object  till  it  is 
achieved.  I  shall  require  great  assistance  from  and  thro'  you. 
I  shall  like  to  see  all  that  you  are  writing  as  it  goes  on,  if 
you  see  no  objection.  It  would  probably  tell  me  much,  and 


lead  me  to  question,  and  so  learn  more."  Thus,  then,  three 
months  after  her  return  from  the  Crimean  War,  broken  in 
bodily  health,  was  this  indomitable  woman  thrown  into 
the  maelstrom  of  work  which  will  be  described  in  the  next 
chapter.  But  it  was  work  for  the  salvation  of  the  British 
Army.  She  "  stood  at  the  altar  of  the  murdered  men  "  ; 
and  she  shrank  from  no  self-sacrifice. 


(Nov.  i856-Aug.  1857) 

You  have  sown  the  seed,  and  the  harvest  will  come.  God  will  give 
the  increase. — SIR  JOHN  McNEiLL  (Letter  to  Florence  Nightingale,  on  her 
"  Notes  affecting  the  Health  of  the  British  Army  "). 

THE  power  of  passive  resistance  wielded  by  a  Department, 
and  the  reluctance  or  the  inability  of  an  easy-going  Minister 
to  withstand  it,  are  unintelligible  to  those  who  are  not  them- 
selves part  of  an  administrative  machine,  and  they  are 
exasperating  to  those  who  are  possessed  of  an  impetuous 
temper  and  a  resolute  will.  The  Royal  Commission  on  the 
health  of  the  Army  had  been  settled  "  in  principle  "  between 
Lord  Panmure  and  Miss  Nightingale  at  their  interview  on 
Nov.  16,  1856,  and  a  week  later  the  Minister  had  received 
Mr.  Herbert's  conditional  acceptance  of  the  chairmanship. 
It  was  not  till  May  5,  1857,  that  the  Royal  Warrant  actually 
setting  up  the  Commission  was  issued.  Throughout  the  six 
months  of  delay,  Mr.  Herbert  and  Miss  Nightingale  were 
busily  employed  in  endeavours  to  persuade  or  coerce  the 
Secretary  of  State  into  granting  the  Commission  effective 
powers  ;  the  War  Office  and  the  Army  Medical  Department 
were  as  busily  counter-working  in  the  hope  of  so  restricting 
its  scope  that  any  recommendations  it  might  make  would  be 
of  a  "  harmless  "  character.1  There  is  no  reason,  I  think,  to 
suspect  Lord  Panmure  of  insincerity,  but  he  was  not  the  man 
to  force  the  pace. 

There  were  moments  during  the  months  of  delay  when 
Miss  Nightingale's  patience  was  exhausted,  and  there  was  one 

1  See  Stanmore,  vol.  ii.  p.  124. 


moment  when  her  spirit  for  the  fight  quailed  and  she  thought 
of  taking  service  in  a  civil  hospital.  Lord  Panmure  from 
time  to  time  was  afflicted  by  the  gout — "  in  the  hands,"  Mr. 
Herbert  said  to  Miss  Nightingale,  "  and  this  explains  his  not 
writing."  "  His  gout  is  always  handy,"  she  retorted.  Then 
there  was  the  call  of  the  birds  to  be  shot  and  the  stags  to  be 
stalked.  "  But  the  Bison  himself  is  bullyable,  remember 
that."  This  was  the  word  which  she  constantly  passed 
round  among  her  allies.  At  one  time  she  pressed  Mr.  Herbert 
to  issue  an  ultimatum.  Let  him  renounce  the  chairmanship 
forthwith,  unless  Lord  Panmure  put  an  end  peremptorily  to 
the  delays  and  gave  a  pledge  that  the  recommendations  of 
the  Commission  should  be  acted  upon.  Mr.  Herbert  and  her 
other  friends  were  for  a  more  cautious  policy,  and  she  was 
overborne.  "  If  you  can  get  us  out  of  the  old,  miry  rut," 
wrote  Sir  John  McNeill  (Dec.  19, 1856),  "  and  put  us  fairly  on 
the  rail,  though  the  plant  may  be  defective  and  the  speed 
small,  we  shall  go  on  improving.  Do  not  allow  yourself  to  be 
discouraged  by  delays."  She  was  not  in  the  end  discouraged, 
but  she  was  not  the  woman  to  sit  still  under  the  delays.  She 
remembered  her  own  mot  d'ordre  ;  and  if  she  did  not  "  bully 
the  Bison,"  I  imagine  that  she  sometimes  administered  a 
feline  stroke  or  two.  In  December  Lord  Panmure  asked 
leave  to  come  to  her  quiet  room  in  Burlington  Street  for  a 
talk.  And  the  talk  was  quiet,  too,  I  doubt  not,  for  Miss 
Nightingale,  sometimes  biting  in  private  letters,  was  never 
vehement  in  conversation.  But  she  could  be  quietly 
emphatic.  She  was  fully  conscious  of  the  strength  of  a 
weapon  which  she  held  in  reserve.  That  weapon  was  her 
popularity,  and  the  command,  which  she  could  use,  if  she 
chose,  of  the  ear  of  the  press  and  the  public.  Lord  Panmure 
must  have  been  conscious  of  this  factor  in  the  case  also.  It 
had  been  settled  at  Balmoral,  again  "  in  principle/'  that 
Miss  Nightingale  was  to  prepare  a  Report  embodying  the 
results  of  her  experience  and  thought.  If  she  and  the 
Minister  remained  on  good  terms,  if  she  felt  assured  that  the 
Army  in  medical  and  sanitary  matters  'would  be  reformed 
from  within,  her  Report  would  remain  confidential.  But  if 
she  were  not  so  persuaded,  there  was  nothing  to  prevent  her 
from  heading  a  popular  agitation  for  reform  from  without. 

336          THE  McNEILL-TULLOCH  AFFAIRE        PT.  m 

This  was  her  weapon  for  "  bullying  the  Bison."  In  a  note 
of  self -communing,  written  during  some  moment  of  disap- 
pointment, she  reproaches  herself  with  having  been  "  a  bad 
mother  "  to  the  heroic  dead,  but  pledges  herself  to  continue 
the  fight  to  the  end.  She  had  "  begun  at  the  highest,  my 
Sovereign,"  and  had  proceeded  to  work  through  the  poli- 
ticians. If  all  else  failed,  she  would  make  a  last  appeal,  "  like 
Cobden  with  the  Corn  Law,"  to  the  country.  "  Three 
months  from  this  day,"  she  wrote  in  one  of  her  letters  of 
incitement  to  Mr.  Herbert,  "  I  publish  my  experience  of  the 
Crimean  Campaign,  and  my  suggestions  for  improvement, 
unless  there  has  been  a  fair  and  tangible  pledge  by  that  time 
for  reform." 


Miss  Nightingale's  exasperation  was  increased  by  the 
attitude  of  the  Government  towards  the  report  of  the 
"Chelsea  Board."  The  McNeill - Tulloch  affaire,  which 
filled  a  large  space  in  public  attention  at  the  time,  requires 
only  a  brief  notice  here  ;  the  dramatic  aspect  of  the  now 
forgotten  scene  at  Chelsea  is  admirably  presented  by  King- 
lake  who,  however,  is  not  to  be  accepted  as  an  unbiased 
authority  on  the  merits  of  the  dispute.1  Sir  John  McNeill 
and  Colonel  Tulloch,  it  will  be  remembered,2  had  been  sent 
out  to  the  East  in  1855  to  inquire  into  the  transport  and 
commissariat  arrangements  of  the  campaign.  Their  Report, 
issued  in  January  1856,  was  the  one  official  document  among 
the  pile  produced  by  the  Crimean  War  which  brought  re- 
sponsibility directly  home  to  specified  individuals.  Every 
one  remembers  the  story  of  Lord  Melbourne's  protest 
when  he  had  accidentally  heard  a  rousing  evangelical  sermon 
with  a  direct  "  application  "  :  "  Things  have  come  to  a 
pretty  pass,"  he  said,  "  when  religion  is  allowed  to  invade  the 
sphere  of  private  life."  Something  of  the  same  indignant 
remonstrance  was  rife  when  a  Report  on  the  Crimean  muddle 
presumed  to  invade  the  sphere  of  personal  responsibility. 

1  In  chap.  ix.  of  vol.  vi.     Kinglake  accepts  the  finding  of  the  Chelsea 
Board  as  the  last  word  on  the  dispute.     For  the  other  side,  see  Sir  Alex- 
ander Tulloch's  Crimean  Commission  and  the  Chelsea  Board,  2nd  ed.,  with 
preface^by  Sir  John  McNeill  (1880). 

2  See  above,  p.  257. 


The  impugned  officers  raised  an  outcry,  and  the  Government 
appointed  an  examining  Board  of  other  officers  to  report  on 
the  Report  which  had  reported  them.  This  Board — called 
after  the  "  Chelsea  "  Hospital  where  it  sat — removed  all 
blame  from  individuals,  and  found  in  July  1856  that  the 
true  cause  of  the  Crimean  muddle  was  the  failure  of  the 
Treasury  to  send  out,  at  the  proper  moment,  a  particular 
consignment  of  pressed  hay.  Miss  Nightingale  had  many  a 
gibe  at  this  ridiculous  mouse  ;  and,  many  years  later,  Sir 
John  McNeill  rebuked  "  the  levity  "  which  referred  "  the 
fatal  privations  so  heroically  endured  by  the  troops  to  so 
ludicrously  inadequate  a  cause."  x  Some  months  were  next 
occupied  in  the  drafting,  by  the  Treasury  officials,  of  an 
explanation  of  the  regrettable  incident  of  the  hay.  The 
Government  acquiesced,  and  the  affair  seemed  to  be  over. 
And  so  it  would  have  been,  but  for  two  factors — the  press 
and  public  opinion.  The  Times  led  a  spirited  attack  upon 
the  Chelsea  Board,  and  public  opinion  espoused  the  cause  of 
Sir  John  McNeill  and  Colonel  Tulloch.  Their  Report  had 
been  set  aside,  and  Lord  Panmure  had  omitted  even  to 
thank  them  for  their  labours.  Sir  John  remained  con- 
temptuously silent,  but  Colonel  Tulloch,  who  was  of  a 
warmer  temper,  was  vigorous  in  self-defence  and  rejoinder. 
In  several  large  towns  sympathy  was  expressed  with  the 
slighted  Commissioners — a  movement  which  Miss  Nightin- 
gale and  her  family,  through  friends  in  various  places,  did 
something  to  advance.  Complimentary  addresses  were  sent 
to  the  Commissioners  from  the  Mayor  and  Citizens  of  Bath, 
of  Birmingham,  of  Liverpool,  of  Manchester  and  of  Preston, 
as  also  from  the  Company  of  Merchants  of  the  City  of 
Edinburgh.2  Noting  this  movement  of  public  opinion, 
which  was  beginning  to  be  reflected  in  the  House  of  Commons, 
Lord  Panmure  bethought  himself  of  doing  something.  His 
expedient  was  signally  ill-judged.  He  had  "  the  honour  to 
acquaint  "  the  Commissioners  "  that  Her  Majesty's  Govern- 
ment have  decided  to  mark  the  services  rendered  by  you  in 
the  discharge  of  your  duties  in  the  Crimea,  by  tendering  to 

1  Preface  to  Tulloch's  Crimean  Commission,  etc.,  1880,  p.  xiii. 

2  For  these  addresses,  see  a  pamphlet  printed  at  Edinburgh  in  1857, 
entitled  Addresses  Presented  to  Sir  John  McNeill,   G.C.B.,  and  Colonel 
Tulloch,  with  their  Answers. 

VOL.  I  Z 


each  of  you  the  sum  of  £1000."  This  pecuniary  estimate  of 
their  services  was  promptly  refused  by  each  of  them.  "  To 
accept  it,"  wrote  Mrs.  Tulloch,  "  is  almost  the  only  thing  I 
could  not  pardon  in  my  husband,  but,  thank  God,  he  feels  as  I 
do  on  the  sub j  ect . "  Miss  Nightingale  was  equally  indignant , 
but  her  political  instinct  was  not  at  fault.  "  I  am  glad,"  she 
wrote  in  reply  to  Mrs.  Tulloch  (Feb.  20),  "  that  they  have 
been  such  fools  !  I  am  sure  the  British  Lion  will  sympathise 
in  this  insult,  and  if  it  does  not,  then  it  is  a  degraded  beast." 
She  proceeded  to  rouse  the  beast.  She  told  Mr.  Herbert 
about  the  Government's  offer,  and  he  concurred  in  her  view. 
It  was  decided  to  raise  the  whole  subject  in  the  House  of 
Commons.  On  March  12,  1857,  Mr.  Herbert  moved  a 
Humble  Address  to  the  Crown  praying  that  Her